France claim famous victory
June 11, 2009
New Zealand's Isaac Ross and France's Fulgence Ouedraogo compete for a lineout ball at Carisbrook
© Getty Images
France ended 15 years of heartache on New Zealand soil with victory against the All Blacks in Dunedin.
It was just their fourth win since their first visit in 1961 and came 20 months after France bundled the same opponents out of the World Cup in Cardiff.
The French showed no mercy against an inexperienced New Zealand side shorn of their leading stars.
As in 1994, when they last tasted success in New Zealand, France will now have the opportunity to push on for a series win when the teams head to Wellington for the second and final Test next weekend.
In the build-up to the clash at Carisbrook, All Blacks coach Graham Henry had talked about the match being a learning experience for his young charges as the All Blacks were missing the expereience of Richie McCaw, Daniel Carter, Ali Williams, Rodney So'oialo, Conrad Smith, Sitiveni Sivivatu and a host of others.
French coach Marc Lievremont has encouraged his players to take a more attacking approach after the conservative years of Bernard Laporte, and their endeavours brought them tries from Francois Trinh-Duc and Williams Servat.
Full-back Maxime Medard scored an interception try nine minutes from the end which had appeared to give them a comfortable 10-point margin but a late try from Ma'a Nonu, following a first-half effort from Liam Messam, ensured a tense finish.
The early points came from the boots of France's debutant scrum-half Julien Dupuy and Stephen Donald who exchanged early penalties before fly-half Trinh-Duc charged over for the game's first try, converted by Dupuy.
Trinh-Duc fired a drop-goal attempt well wide in the 26th minute, but two minutes later hooker Servat was burrowing his way over, and Dupuy again kicked the conversion.
Donald narrowed the deficit to 17-6 with his second penalty and soon afterwards Messam dived over in the corner for his first international try, after being fed a pass by Cory Jane just before half-time to bring the All Blacks back into the game, going into the break 11-17 down.
Two more Donald penalties locked the scores up at 17-17 midway through the second half.
Dupuy missed a penalty when Neemia Tialata was penalised for taking down the scrum, but then found his range to edge the French ahead again.
Medard's 60-metre race to dive under the posts effectively sealed the famous victory, before Nonu's late score in the left corner.
New Zealand: Mils Muliaina (capt), Joe Rokocoko, Isaia Toeava, Ma'a Nonu, Rudi Wulf, Stephen Donald, Jimmy Cowan, Liam Messam, Adam Thomson, Kieran Read, Isaac Ross, Brad Thorn, Neemia Tialata, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: Keven Mealamu, John Afoa, Bryn Evans, Tanerau Latimer, Piri Weepu, Luke McAlister, Cory Jane.
France: Maxime Medard, Cedric Heymans, Mathieu Bastareaud, Damien Traille, Vincent Clerc, Francois Trinh-Duc, Julien Dupuy, Fabien Barcella, William Servat, Sylvain Marconnet, Pascal Pape, Romain Millo-Chluski, Thiery Dusautoir (capt), Fulgence Ouedraogo, Louis Picamoles
Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Thomas Domingo, Sebastien Chabal, Remy Martin, Dimitri Yachvili, Yannick Jauzion, Alexis Pa
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