All Blacks v France: Ian Foster's side crushed by Les Bleus for third defeat of 2021

Ian Foster's All Blacks have been outplayed in Paris, losing their final test of 2021 to an impassioned French side.

The 40-25 scoreline arguably flattered an All Blacks side that trailed 24-6 at halftime against an inspired home side that played with direction, vigor and intent.

The result marks Foster's fifth test loss in charge (15 wins, one draw) since taking the reins from Sir Steve Hansen at the start of 2020.

Despite a second-half surge that saw the All Blacks close the gap to two points, an intercept try for French winger Damien Penaud ended the hopes of a comeback, with France scoring the last 11 points of the test.

In front of a packed home crowd, France seized the initiative from the outset, as hooker Peato Mavuka opened the scoring from a lineout drive in the third minute, laying a marker for what was to come.

A Jordie Barrett penalty put the All Blacks on the scoreboard four minutes later, before he added another in the ninth, but while the All Blacks were content to add to their score in multiples of three, France made sure to do it in sevens.

In the 13th minute, first-five Romain Ntamack - son of former France international Emile - scored his side's second try, dancing through the All Blacks defence to push the score out to 14-6, after a successful conversion from fullback Melvyn Jaminet.

Jaminet added another penalty, before France rounded out the first half with Mauvaka's second try - a carbon copy of his first - from another lineout drive.

Needing to start the second half as the stronger side to hold any hope of a comeback win, the All Blacks did just that.

Parked in the right corner, returning halfback Aaron Smith showed why he was missed in last week's defeat to Ireland, putting Barrett away down the blindside for New Zealand's opening try of the night.

After already witnessing individual brilliance in Ntamack's try, the Stade de France was treated again to more champagne rugby, this time from Rieko Ioane, who showed off incredible footwork, before a burst of pace put him away for the visitors' second try in four minutes.

Replacing Dane Coles, substitute hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho had an instant impact, muscling forwards from another lineout drive and paving the way for Ardie Savea to score the All Blacks' third, as they closed to 25-27 - but that was as close as they would get. 

In the final 20 minutes, France halted their slide, putting Penaud in for another try and capitalising on Ardie Savea's yellow card for cyncial play in stopping an opposition attack.

At the end of a long tour that's seen them away from home for three months and a season that started back with Super Rugby Aotearoa at the end of February, Foster's side had nothing left to give.

One last penalty from Jaminet after the siren sealed France's triumph, registering their first victory over the All Blacks since 2009 and first in Paris since 1973. Jaminet had a perfect night with the boot, landing five conversions and three penalties.

The loss sees the All Blacks drop three games in one calendar year for the first time since 2009, when Sir Graham Henry's side were bettered by France and three times by then-world champions South Africa.

France's victory will no doubt fill Les Bleus with confidence, less than two years out from facing New Zealand in the opening game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup on home soil.

All Blacks 25 (Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Ardie Savea tries; Barrett 3 conversions, penalty).

France 40 (Peato Mauvaka 2, Romain Ntamack, Damian Penaud tries: Melvyn Jaminet 5 conversions, 3 penalties)