New Zealand remain unbeaten in 2013 after seeing off France in Paris
Last Updated: 09/11/13 11:41pm
New Zealand made it 12 straight wins in 2013 with a 26-19 triumph over France, though they were forced to survive a late scare in Paris.
Second-half tries from Charles Piutau and Kieran Read, along with 14 points from the boot of Dan Carter, proved enough for the All Blacks to win a repeat of the 2011 World Cup final.
However Les Bleus pushed their rivals all the way, Morgan Parra popping over four penalties before converting Brice Dulin's late try to set up a thrilling finish.
The hosts looked in prime position to snatch a draw when they twice had scrums five metres out from the New Zealand line, only to waste the opportunities and let their opponents off the hook.
In the end the All Blacks - who were actually playing in white - were grateful to hang on, setting them up for their revenge mission against England, the last team to beat them, at Twickenham next Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
There had been nothing to split the two nations in the French capital at the end of the first 40 minutes, Parra and Carter trading three penalties apiece to leave it at 9-9.
New Zealand had threatened early through the returning Cory Jane, the winger spectacularly diving for the right corner before dropping the ball as he reached out for the line.
That, though, was a rare moment of concern for the French, who spent the rest of the opening half testing their opponents, at times launching phase-after-phase of attacks in the hope of getting a breakthrough.
Yet for all their huffing and puffing they had little gain for their first 40 minutes of pressure. New Zealand quickly showed them the type of clinical accuracy they were lacking in attack just seven minutes after the re-start.
Ben Smith's superb kick caught France short of numbers out on the left wing, allowing Piutau to hack on again before winning the race to the loose ball.
Carter converted before making way for Aaron Cruden, who landed the extras when Piutau's sublime offload out the back of the hand created a try-scoring opportunity for Kieran Read that the number eight duly accepted.
France refused to go away, finally finding a chink in the All Black armour with 11 minutes to play through full-back Dulin, with Parra knocking over the conversion. That, though, was as close as they would get to avenging their three straight Test losses to the same opponents during the summer.