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.
Sat 11th Jul
South Africa0 - 0World XV
Sat 8th Aug
Wales0 - 0Ireland
Sat 15th Aug
Argentina0 - 0South Africa
New Zealand0 - 0Australia
Ireland0 - 0Scotland
England0 - 0France
Sat 22nd Aug
Italy0 - 0Scotland
France0 - 0England
Sat 29th Aug
Ireland0 - 0Wales
Scotland0 - 0Italy
QBE Internationals 2013: England v New Zealand
Stuart Barnes believes England will benefit far more from loss to New Zealand than if they had won.
England coach Stuart Lancaster admits he will face early selection problems in New Zealand next summer.
Chris Robshaw is targeting victory in the Six Nations after the narrow defeat by world champions New Zealand.
- Hartley suffers bruised lung
- England pack earn plaudits
- Carter doubt for New Zealand
- Disappointment for Lancaster
- Search for scary
- All Blacks have just enough
- McCaw: Extra edge to game
- England v New Zealand: Teams
- Head not heart
- Being an All Black
- Hansen rues security breach
- Add to Cart
- Ashton ready for All Blacks
- Fitzpatrick: England will cope
- Wood: We can beat All Blacks