Many observers are predicting Rugby World Cup joy for France after they overcame the All Blacks in the opening match of the tournament.
After a tight first half, which they led 9-8 following three Thomas Ramos penalties, Les Bleus pulled away in the second period.
Damian Penaud’s try put them in control before two more Ramos three-pointers extended their buffer to nine points.
And with New Zealand forced to chase the game, Les Bleus pounced, sealing an impressive 27-13 opening night triumph when Melvyn Jaminet crossed the whitewash.
World Cup favourites
It may have only been one match, but fans were quick to take the X, formerly known as Twitter, to put the French down as the tournament favourites.
One wrote, “France’s World Cup to lose imo,” while another simply put, “France will win the World Cup.”
The praise didn’t stop there, with some believing that France have taken on the mantle from the three-time world champions.
“WOW! France! After that performance, you deserve the world cup. New Zealand…. Shhhhhh!!! Your dominance is over,” Stuart Morris wrote.
It is fair to say France were feeling their way into the World Cup in the first half, but Fabien Galthie’s men produced an outstanding display after the break.
In particular, Gregory Alldritt received praise for his man-of-the-match effort in the 27-13 win, with EK Rugby Analysis stating: “Grégory Alldritt. Monster game. Arguably plays better without the scrumcap.”
Irish journalist Rúaidhrí O’Connor believes it is a “statement win from France”, and that “there’s better teams at this tournament than that All Blacks side, but the combination of that team and this stadium is going to be very, very hard to overcome.”
All Black concerns
On the other side of the fence, people felt that it was both a telling result and performance from the All Blacks.
They have improved since their struggles in early 2022, but their record defeat to South Africa cast doubt over their capabilities, and this display confirmed that New Zealand have plenty of work to do.
“France has been absolutely brilliant tonight, (but) this All Black side looks a shell of the world cup teams that came before them,” Darren Lavery tweeted.
South African journalist Jon Cardinelli feels there will be some “soul-searching” within their camp ahead of their next World Cup encounter.
“NZ lose their first RWC pool game ever… and margin of defeat may have been greater if not for 3 missed kicks by France,” he wrote.
“ABs have some soul-searching to do in the coming weeks… 28pt loss to SA in warm-ups, and now a 14pt loss to France.”
Finally, former England fly-half and now pundit Andy Goode went for the sarcastic approach, referencing The Breakdown’s reaction to the Springboks’ victory two weeks ago.
He tweeted: “Enter Jeff Wilson to say that’s the best the French can ever play……”
READ MORE: All Blacks player ratings: Barretts and Telea shine, props fail in historic defeat
The article ‘France’s World Cup to lose’ – Les Bleus hailed after opening night success appeared first on Planetrugby.com.