The All Blacks have struggled through a tough second half to beat France 38-18 in Paris this morning (NZ time).

The All Blacks led 31-5 at halftime but a sloppy second stanza - and a strong, scrappy performance from the French - saw the home side give the world champions a fright.

The All Blacks scored their final try just before fulltime to blow out the final scoreline.

Sonny Bill Williams was earlier yellow-carded for deliberately batting a kick over the dead ball line - a move which perhaps betrayed his rugby league roots - and France was awarded a penalty try as a result to give Les Bleus a sniff.


Referee Angus Gardiner has been the topic of much discussion during the game, with the whistle produced on many occasions.

It was the 58th meeting between the All Blacks and France, with the French have won 12 tests with one draw.

France have a number of famous wins over New Zealand but it's been a long time between Champagnes in Paris.

France have a 64 percent winning record at the Stade de France since the ground opened in 1998 but not one of their 48 victories is against the All Blacks.

It has been 44 years since France last beat the All Blacks in Paris, 1973 victory which was played at the Parc de Prince ground.

In fact France have only beaten the All Blacks at home twice in the last 24 years. The last time the All Blacks lost a test match in France was in Marseille, 2000.

France have played the All Blacks 57 times, and have won just 12 of those games along with one draw. That draw was in 2002, and is the closest France have come to beating the All Blacks at Stade de France.

Since France beat the All Blacks 27-22 in Dunedin eight years ago they have gone 10 straight defeats to New Zealand.


Kieran Read is the only member of the All Blacks squad to experience a defeat to France. The All Blacks skipper was the starting blindside flanker in his fourth test in that Dunedin loss.

Mathieu Bastareaud, Francois Trinh-Duc, Louis Picamoles and Fulgence Ouedraogo all started for France that day.

Line Ups:

With Jerome Kaino heading home and Liam Squire under an injury cloud, Vaea Fifita gets the nod to start in the number six jersey.

Beauden Barrett returns to first-five after missing the Brisbane test while, Luke Romano did enough to impress against the Baabaas to retain the starting second-row spot alongside Sam Whitelock. Hansen indicated Scott Barrett needed to improve the accuracy of his defence.

France has thrust youth into the spotlight by handing out four test debuts against the All Blacks.

Of the starting French team which pushed the All Blacks before going down 24-19 in the final test last year, only four players remain. All are in the forward pack.

As predicted earlier this week, French coach Guy Noves has opted for a rookie halves pairing.

That comes in the form of Toulouse halfback Antoine Dupont, the 20-year-old who will make his first test start after coming off the bench in three defeats against South Africa in June, and Toulon first five-eighth Anthony Belleau, one year older.

On debut, Belleau will become France's fifth first-five in the past two years.

His introduction comes with first-choice No 10 Camille Lopez out for five months with a leg injury.

Racing Metro wing Teddy Thomas, with five tests, has been handed the challenging task of marking Rieko Ioane.

France at least has some experience in the form of veteran No 8 Louis Picamoles.
The team is captained by 53-test Toulon hooker Guilhem Guirado.

All Blacks:
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames.

Reserves: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

15 Nans Ducuing; 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Mathieu Bastareaud, 11 Yoann Huget; 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Antoine Dupont; 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Judicael Cancoriet; 5 Paul Gabrillagues, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina; 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot Replacements: Clement Maynadier, Raphael Chaume, Daniel Kotze, Paul Jedrasiak, Anthony Jelonch, Baptiste Serin, Francois Trinh-Duc, Damian Penaud


France are paying $6.60 for a victory at the New Zealand TAB with the All Blacks heavy favourites at $1.10. The draw is $33.

How to watch:

The Herald will be live blogging the game, and RadioSport will have live commentary. Sky TV will be showing the match live on Sky Sport 1 at 8.45am.