Opinion: All Blacks player ratings v France in Rugby World Cup at Paris' Stade de France

OPINION: Two years ago, the All Blacks were hammered 40-25 by France at the Stade de France.

In 2023, the scoreline wasn't as emphatic - but it was just as deflating. For the first time, New Zealand has been defeated in a World Cup pool match.

While Ian Foster's men matched France blow for blow in the first half, the second 40 minutes left the All Blacks exposed, as the rest of the world watched on.

Now there are serious questions to answer before returning to action against Nambia next weekend.

Here's how the All Blacks rated:

1-Ethan de Groot 4

Genuinely struggled. Twice penalised at scrum time and didn't get the better of opposite number Uini Antonio once.


France celebrate in their victory over the All Blacks.
France celebrate in their victory over the All Blacks. Photo credit: Getty Images

2-Codie Taylor 5

Gave the All Blacks an improvement at the lineout after the lows against South Africa, but was another to be outplayed. Made six tackles for his evening's work before being replaced by Samisoni Taukei'aho.

3-Nepo Laulala 3.5

Was always going to just be a gap-filler with Tyrel Lomax and did little to press his case to be the starting No.3.  

4-Sam Whitelock 6

Carried an additional burden of leadership, even without the captaincy after Cane's late injury.

Was solid on defence as per usual, before he was subbed for an unfit Brodie Retallick.

5-Scott Barrett 7

Did not take a backwards step. Made a team-leading 11 tackles, joint with Dalton Papali'I, and won two turnovers for his efforst on defence.

Imagine how bad it could have been had he been banned after that red card against the Springboks...

6-Tupou Vaa'I 5

Not surprisingly looked out of place at No.6 after the late injury to Cane. Still made six tackles and won a turnover.

Badly exposed the All Blacks' poor squad selection that he was the last No.6 option left standing. Subbed before the hour.

Dalton Papali'i against France.
Dalton Papali'i against France. Photo credit: Getty Images

7-Dalton Papali'I 6

Excellent on defence in Cane's absence. Joint-leading All Blacks tackle maker alongside Barrett but still struggled against a much more physical French loose forward trio.

8-Ardie Savea 6

Ardie Savea kicks now?! Excellent vision in the lead-up to Mark Telea's second try but was outmuscled by opposite number Gregory Alldritt.

9-Aaron Smith 7

Had the measure of Antoine Dupont early on. Looked every bit as sharp as his first World Cup game - eight years ago.

Subbed after the hour for Finlay Christie.

10-Richie Mo'unga 6

A bit of good, a bit of bad. Came up with an unreal try saving effort on Damian Penaud but missed kicks at goal cost the All Blacks a chance to apply scoreboard pressure.  

11-Mark Telea 9

Looked dangerous every time he touched the ball. Expert finish for the first try, forced a mistake with a kick to Ramos.

Scored again in the second half, continues to grow in the iconic No.11 jersey.

Rieko Ioane stood out in patches for the All Blacks.
Rieko Ioane stood out in patches for the All Blacks. Photo credit: Getty Images

Ran for 111 metres with ball in hand, second only to Beauden Barrett.

12-Anton Lienert-Brown 5

Another player keeping the seat warm, this time for Jordie Barrett. Distributed well from second-five but would have wanted to make a bigger statement in a rare start at No.12.

13-Rieko Ioane 7.5

Threatened on more than one occasion with ball in hand. Was instrumental in the opening try but struggled with a lack of ball thereafter.

14-Will Jordan 3

Worryingly, this was Jordan's worst outing in a black jersey. Was shown a yellow card after mistiming a challenge in the air and was lucky not to be shown red for doing the same again after returning from the sinbin.

15-Beauden Barrett - 7

Looks every bit a test fullback now. Near perfect kick out to Telea's wing to open the scoring and has the most running metres (136) on either side.

Defensively sound and had to scramble back more than once to counter Dupont's kicks in behind.  

However, was forced into France's plan to kick possession back and dominate territory.

16-Samisoni Taukei'aho 4

17-Ofa Tu'ungafasi 4

18-Fletcher Newell 4

19-Brodie Retallick 3

Should never have been put in this position. Was never going to be fit enough to play but the All Blacks' poor squad selection has been exposed.

Going heavy in the outside backs instead of the forwards was a mistake that will never be repeated.

20-Luke Jacobson 4

Questions as to why Jacobson wasn't rushed into No.6 after Cane's injury. Two tests in a row now, Jacobson's been denied the chance for a full game as a starter - for reasons he has no control over.

21-Finlay Christie 2

Any chance the All Blacks had of turning around the 19-13 scoreline went out the window when Christie entered the fray. You have to wonder what more Cam Roigard or even Brad Weber have to do to be considered as Smith's back-up.

22-David Havili 4

23-Leicester Fainga'anuku N/A

Played just nine minutes at a time when the game was already gone.

Alex Powell is a Newshub Sport digital producer.