GRAND FINAL DAY LOCKED IN | Three big fixtures next Sunday at Sydney's ANZ Stadium! Burleigh and Ill...
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Match Summary New Zealand have (finally!) ended their 2007 season with a patchy 22-14 win against a determined French team in Paris.
The Kiwis suffered the worst possible start as the French took full advantage of some basic errors to claim the opening try after only 2 minutes with second rower Eric Anselme strolling through some woefully soft Kiwi defence. Halfback Maxime Greseque then kicked a penalty goal as the French skipped out to an 8-0 lead within the opening quarter of the match.
The introduction of replacement forwards Jeff Lima and Fuifui Moimoi had an instant impact on the fortunes of the Kiwi team - suddenly their go-forward was working and they were able to apply some consistent pressure against the French defence. Tries to Louis Anderson and Shaun Kenny-Dowall opened up a lucky 10-8 halftime lead for the visitors, although the French could easily have scored another couple of tries if their speculative attacking passes had been sticking.
Sam Perrett started the second half with a brain explosion, handing Cyril Stacul the easiest of tries (and the lead) with an embarrassing blunder deep within his own territory. Eric Anselme nearly claimed his second try shortly afterwards but was denied by a tough call from the video referee, ruling a fumble when a benefit of the doubt ruling could easily have been applied.
The Kiwis tried to peg back the deficit and put together some good patches of attacking pressure but a combination of strong French defence and poor last-tackle options left them frustrated. It wasn