Rugby round-up: All Blacks forced to repel spirited French fightback


The All Blacks took until the second half to break open their match against France in Paris and finished it on the back foot as the home side battled to complete what would have been a remarkable comeback before going down 26-19.

Morgan Parra and New Zealand's Dan Carter had spent the first half exchanging penalties as the lead switched first one way and then the other before the sides went into the interval level at 9-9.

However, it took New Zealand only six minutes of the second half to break the game open from 12-12, with a try by the wing Charles Piutau. Carter converted and from there France were chasing the game.

Kieran Read appeared to put the Kiwis in total control when the No 8 went over to stretch their advantage and Aaron Cruden, who had come on for Carter, added the extras.

The French were not beaten though, and in front of a passionate Stade de France crowd they rallied, with the full-back Brice Dulin putting them back in contention with a try that Parra converted.

That set up a rousing final quarter and the French spent the closing minutes camped near the All Black line trying to force an equalising try. But New Zealand stayed unbeaten in 2013.

Two tries from Nick Cummins helped Australia recover from an early deficit to thrash Italy 50‑20 at the Stadio Olimpico.

The winger struck in the 31st and 50th minutes as Ewen McKenzie's side bounced back from their defeat by England at Twickenham last weekend with a commanding display.

Scores from Ben Mowen, Tevita Kuridrani, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Joe Tomane and Israel Folau completed the rout against a spirited Italy side who scored the game's first try through the Australian-born full-back Luke McClean.

"I won't be happy until we've strung a few wins together. It was a good scoreboard for us today," McKenzie said. "We showed some potency in attack and we worked hard through the game to score those points. To score seven tries in an away game was a good effort."

Australia allowed Italy to get away to a flying start as they opened up a 10-0 lead with a converted try by Luke McLean. Italy never gave up and added second-half tries through Lorenzo Cittadini and Tommaso Allan on his debut.

There was a distinct whiff in the air at Murrayfield where the garlic that the Scottish Rugby Union sprayed on to the pitch, to stop an infestation of nematode parasites from damaging the root structure of the playing surface, did its job.

The Scotland team did not stink. They ran out 42-17 winners over Japan in a six-try performance that should have pleased their incoming coach, who was watching from the stand. He is still down among the garlic eaters until the end of the season while he sees out his contract with Clermont-Auvergne.

Amid the sloppy defence and wayward handling there was some encouraging finishing too for the interim head coach, Scott Johnson, to enjoy. Tommy Seymour scored twice but was eclipsed by his Glasgow team-mate and fellow home debutant, Tim Swinson, who was man of the match after some sterling work in the tight and loose.

Grieg Laidlaw kicked 10 points and scored a try, with Sean Lamont and Alasdair Dickinson also going over.

Ireland fortified themselves for the tasks ahead with a 40-9 victory over Samoa in their first outing under their new coach, Joe Schmidt.

There were only occasional glimpses of the attacking rugby the New Zealander is renowned for in a scrappy match in which Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien, Fergus McFadden and the debutant David Kearney, with two, scored the tries.

The Ireland defence also had the satisfaction of preventing Samoa from scoring a try for the first time in 26 Tests since 2009.

However, Samoa were hampered by injuries. Already without five senior players, including their tour captain, David Lemi, Samoa saw tighthead prop Logovi'i Mulipola limp off after eight minutes, while a sickening collision of heads in the 56th ended with the fly-half Tusi Pisi taken off on a stretcher, and the winger Brando Va'aulu being helped off.

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower