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France kick off Rugby World Cup with lavish ceremony and historic win

Les Bleus serenaded off pitch by 80,000 fans after frenetic victory over All Blacks caps exuberant celebration of sport’s 200th anniversary

Allez les Bleus. On a night where the Stade de France resembled a sweaty mess of nerves and high emotion, France got the Rugby World Cup off to a thumping start with a 27-13 victory over New Zealand.

It was the first time the All Blacks, three-time winners of the tournament, had ever lost a pool match. No wonder France were serenaded off the pitch by nearly 80,000 fans, with a rousing rendition of La Marseillaise.

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