Relieved France coach Fabien Galthie happy to pass tough first World Cup test

Relieved France coach Fabien Galthie happy to pass tough first World Cup test

Despite their big win over New Zealand in Friday's World Cup opener in Paris, France coach Fabien Galthie was more relieved than anything else to get their campaign off on a winning note.

It was the All Blacks' first pool-phase defeat in World Cup history and they could have few complaints as they were well beaten 27-13.

Although the game never took off as a true spectacle at Stade de France, it was all about the result as the hosts prevailed through second-half tries by wing Damian Penaud and replacement Melvyn Jaminet, plus 17 points from full-back Thomas Ramos.

Wing Mark Telea scored two tries for New Zealand, with fly-half Richie Mo'unga kicking a penalty.

While the three-time World Cup winners are still odds-on to secure a quarter-final place from Pool A, France's success sent an immediate message of their world title intent

"It was important to begin well by winning even if it was not a knockout match," Galthie told French television channel TF1.

"We felt a lot of pressure in the first half and found it tough to relax and express ourselves.

"The start was terrible for us as they scored quickly, then we lost (Julien) Marchand injured, but we succeeded little by little to get back into it and Ramos helped us to keep the score ticking over.

"We were leading at half-time, but we were not in control of the game. I said we had been overcome a bit by the pressure, but the good thing was we managed to get back into it.

"It will do us the world of good, this win. It is a relief and welcome."

France forward Gregory Alldritt, the man of the match, said: "It was a really, really tough game. It was a massive game for the team, and I am proud to be French tonight.

"We said if we lost it was not the end of the World Cup. We are not champions now. We just need to keep working and go step by step."

New Zealand had gone 31 successive pool games without defeat, but their quest for a fourth world crown got off to an underwhelming start.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said: "At half-time, both teams were right in it. I thought they squeezed us in that second half and we struggled to really get a lot of momentum.

"When we did get down there, we created some opportunities, but we weren't quite good enough. It was a see-sawing game, but you have got to take your hat off to them.

"I think the discipline wasn't too bad. They earned a few penalties from us at the breakdown - we knew they were going to be good there.

"But there is enough in there going forward. This was always going to be a big game.

"Playing France here in the opening game was pretty special, but they were just a bit too good. We've got to find another pathway for us now."

READ MORE: France shine in second half to down All Blacks in sweltering Rugby World Cup opener

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