2007 Rugby World Cup: New Zealand 18 - 20 France

Saturday, October 6, 2007

October 6, 2007
21:00 (UTC+2)
New Zealand 18 – 20 France Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Tries: L McAlister 17' c
R So'oialo 63' m
Con: D Carter (1/1)
Pen: D Carter (2/2) 14', 31'
Tries: T Dusautoir 54' c
Y Jauzion 69' c
Con: L Beauxis (1/1)
J-B Elissalde (1/1)
Pen: L Beauxis (2/3) 40+', 46'

France have defeated New Zealand 18-20 in the quarter-final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales.

New Zealand led 13-3 at half time, after Dan Carter kicked two penalties and Luke McAlister scored a try. France missed chances to score with Lionel Beauxis and Jean-Baptiste Élissalde both missing penalties and Damien Traille missing a drop goal attempt. Lionel Beauxis scored France's first points with a penalty just before half time.

However, New Zealand centre Luke McAlister was harshly sin-binned early in the second half for illegally blocking a French player and preventing a try scoring opportunity. France took advantage of having the extra man, and levelled to 13-13 by the time the 10 minute suspension had elapsed with Lionel Beauxis adding a penalty and Thierry Dusautoir scoring a try. New Zealand then scored through Rodney So'oialo to regain the lead, but after Frédéric Michalak made a run, before passing to Yannick Jauzion who scored the try which was then converted, France led 20-18. The teams slogged it out for 15 minutes, but New Zealand could not make a breakthrough. Luke McAlister missed a last minute drop goal attempt as France held on to win.

Some New Zealand fans blamed the loss on English referee Wayne Barnes due to alleged bias towards the French team. Controversial decisions included Luke McAlister's sin binning and an apparent forward pass that led to France's second try, allowing them to take the lead. However, most neutrals also noted an apparent forward pass in the build up to an earlier New Zealand try and consider Barnes to have done a reasonable job in such a high profile game.

France advance to the semi-final stage of the tournament and will play England, who defeated Australia 12-10 earlier today, in a repeat of the 2003 semi-final.

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