New Zealand held off a late France surge at the Stade de France, hanging on to maintain their unbeaten record and leave with a 26-19 victory over Les Blues. Winger Charles Piutau scored a try and set up Kieran Read with a brilliant piece of play.
Both Dan Carter and Morgan Parra kicked 14 points for their respective sides, but it was the two tries to one of New Zealand that edged them ahead, withstanding a spirited late French effort.
France had their tails up with a series of scrums in the final minutes, but they couldn’t force their way over and snatch a draw. Manager Philippe Saint-Andre felt that it could have been different.
“The players are sad because we had all the ingredients for a victory but we lacked accuracy, especially in the first half when we should have been ahead,” he said to reporters post match.
“We have courage and desire, but it’s the little details that make the difference. We were good in the scrum, apart from the last one, when we’re penalised.
“We have the character. At some point we were 14 points behind and we find the resources to come back in the game and we almost snatched the draw. It shows this team has courage,” he added.
France meet Tonga next, while New Zealand have a big meeting with England at Twickenham.