Live updates: Rugby World Cup - All Blacks v France at Paris' Stade de France

  • 09/09/2023

Live coverage has concluded, please click here for the full wrap

Kia ora, good morning and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Rugby World Cup opener between the All Blacks and France.

Here it is, the game that everyone has had circled on their calendars for almost four years, as these two archrivals face off in another mouthwatering encounter - their eighth over the history of the tournament.

Hosts France are ranked third in the world, New Zealand fourth, and 'Les Bleus' defeated the All Blacks last time they met two years ago.

That said, the NZ side have had the edge over their opponents at previous World Cup (5-2) and have never lost a pool game. 

Will that change today?

Join us at 7am for kickoff.

TAB Odds: NZ $1.82, France $2, Draw $18


'He's deserved it': All Blacks back Papali'i to fill No.6 void in World Cup opener

Of all the questions that needed answering for All Blacks team to face France in the Rugby World Cup opener, Dalton Papali'i is ultimately the big winner, after being awarded the No.6 jersey by coach Ian Foster.    

As Foster and his fellow selectors gambled and went short in the forwards when picking their 33-man squad to head to France, injury to Shannon Frizell has bitten the All Blacks hard.    

Frizell, 29, had easily secured the spot on the blindside of the All Blacks scrum, only for a hamstring issue to sideline him for Saturday's clash against the World Cup hosts. 

Scott Barrett at No.6 would have been a valid solution, but injury to Brodie Retallick saw him needed in the second row, alongside Sam Whitelock, while Samipeni Finau and Ethan Blackadder missed the squad altogether.   

While Foster initially backed Luke Jacobson at No.6 in Frizell's absence, starting before making way after a red card to Scott Barrett against South Africa at Twickenham, he has turned to Papali'i for the Stade de France.   

Traditionally an out-and-out No.7, Papali'i's time in the All Blacks in recent years has been blocked by Sam Cane - the team captain - playing in the same position.   

Now, those two will line up alongside each other, forming the loose forward trio, alongside Ardie Savea.   

Papali'i's move to No.6 could be seen as a risk, he hasn't packed down on the blindside since the All Blacks' defeat to Ireland at Dunedin last year.   

In that time, Akira Ioane, Frizell and Barrett have all been picked at No.6, with varying degrees of success.   

Dalton Papli'i at All BLacks training.
Dalton Papli'i at All BLacks training. Photo credit: Getty Images

Foster outlines how giving Papali'i a run at No.6 against South Africa was in the plan, but that went out the window, once Barrett was sent off for two separate yellow cards. 

Against France, the coach has no doubts over Papali'i's quality against a powerful French forward pack.   

"We were going to play both those two in that position at Twickenham," Foster revealed. "That changed with the red card.   

"Dalts has played plenty of rugby this year. We've got a lot of faith in both of them.   

"We just feel, for this game, that way round will be good for us. It gives us the ability to have two guys whose instincts are at the ball.   

"Also, Dalts brings a pretty strong ball-carrying and he's quick around the park. He's been a big part of our group over the last 18 months.    

"He's deserved it."    

Meanwhile, Savea looks forward to lining up alongside both Papali'i and Cane, with the trio's intentions already outlined by their selection.     

Savea and Papali'i have played together as a No.7 and a No.8, with Cane now added to that mix for good measure.   

"Dalts is Dalts," said Savea. "He puts his head down and he works.

"He doesn't say much, he just goes about his mahi. That's very good.    

"Skip's [Cane] doing his thing, so it'll be good to play with the brothers. It's going to be exciting."