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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2007, 17:57 GMT 18:57 UK
New Zealand v France as it happened
Result: New Zealand 18-20 France


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By Phil Harlow


2200: "One word: delirium. I have now lost the ability to hear. Complete and utter chaos. People are hugging, dancing and singing."
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac in Paris

2156: "Talk about 'The Great Escape'. New Zealand were cruising and felt that they could score enough points at will. Instead of killing France dead in the first half they let them back in.

"Amazing. One of my French colleagues has already e-mailed me. Methinks that we will all watch the game at his house next week.

"Who would have bet on England and France knocking out Australia and New Zealand given the way that the teams started the tournament?"
CS on 606

2153: "Anyone know the odds on an England-France semi-final at the start of the day? Would've been worth a few quid!"
Anon via text

2151: "I'm staggered - I never would have believed that the Kiwis could choke yet again..."
DM on 606

80 mins: New Zealand lose the ball and little scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde joyously runs backwards and sideways towards the French fans and kicks the ball into touch to bring a sensational match to a close.

Simply amazing, what can you say? New Zealand have failed to win the tournament they were red-hot favourites to win once again.

France, meanwhile, have lived up to every clich about their topsy-turvy form you could possibly imagine. They staged an incredible fightback and will now face England in the semis.

79 mins: New Zealand win the line-out but a misplaced pas in midfield costs them 15m in territory.

Luke McAlister has a go at a drop-goal from halfway but it is well wide of the target.

78 mins: Amazing stuff again as France somehow get their hands on the ball again. This time Jean-Baptiste Elissalde takes the responsibility and belts the ball into he stands.

New Zealand have a line-out about 35m out from the try-line.

77 mins: France somehow turn the ball over but Frederic Michalak fires a shocking kick to the longer touchline which fails to find touch. What was he thinking of?

Chris Jack doesn't take it cleanly, but he can launch another All Blacks attack.

74 mins: New Zealand are going through phase after phase. They are desperate for the score, but France's defence is rock solid so far.

The All Blacks are within 6m of the France try-line and the tension is unbearable.

70 mins: Everything is going France's way at the moment. Winger Vincent Clerc looks to be going nowhere and takes an almighty swing at the ball.

It sails 60m, over Sitiveni Sivivatu's head and bounces into touch. Incredible scenes in Cardiff.

68 mins: TRY & CONVERSION New Zealand 18-20 France
Goodness gracious me, an absolutely breathtaking try from France has put them into a sensational lead.

Damien Traille takes the ball into contact at speed on halfway and passes out of contact to Frederic Michalak. The pass looks forward but goes unnoticed by the officials.

Michalak sprints 25m and shows great awareness to pirouette as the tacklers close in and give the ball to the supporting Yannick Jauzion to score and send the Millennium Stadium into raptures.

And scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde kicks the conversion to put France ahead.

67 mins: A final gamble from France coach Bernard Laporte as he brings Frederic Michalak on for Lionel Beauxis.

66 mins: A sharp break from Nick Evans opens France right up, but Jean-Baptiste Elissalde just keeps hold of his shorts to bring him down.

Evans passes as he falls to Mils Muliaina and the ball is too low for the centre to collect. A lucky break for France.

64 mins: A horrible flashback to the opening night for France winger Cedric Heymans as he fumbles a Nick Evans up-and-under to give possession back to New Zealand.

62 mins: TRY New Zealand 18-13 France
Sitiveni Sivivatu makes a powerful dart of the wing with a couple of French defenders hanging onto his shirt, and New Zealand seize the initiative with their forwards embarking on a series of drives towards the France try-line.

Replacement hooker Andrew Hore goes to within 2m, and number eight Rodney So'oialo gives a textbook example of keeping your body low as he drives over the line to put the All Blacks back in front.

But Luke McAlister's conversion attempt is wide.

60 mins: France win a penalty at the scrum on their own 10m line as new Zealand are pinged for not binding correctly.

They are back to their full complement of players now, with Luke McAlister back on the field.

57 mins: Dan Carter limps off, seemingly with the calf injury which had affected his preparations for the match.

Now we're going to find out what New Zealand are made of.

53 mins: TRY & CONVERSION New Zealand 13-13 France
This match is right back on as France score an excellent try through open-side flanker Thierry Dusatoir after a prolonged attack.

France work an overlap on the right but Imanol Harionordoquy seems strangely reluctant to commit to his one-on-one chance. France recycle the ball and fling it to the left before coming back the other way.

This time, Vincent Clerc commits his man and sends Dusatoir in for a brilliant score which Lionel Beauxis coverts - off the post. Things are going France's way at the moment as they level the scores.

51 mins: The noise in the stands reaches a new high as Sebastien Chabal, who has come to symbolise France's efforts in this tournament, bounds onto the field in place of Fabien Pelous.

The departing lock implores the crowd to get even more vocal in their support, and they respond.

Dan Carter misses with a drop-goal attempt, and is clearly disappointed with himself.

49 mins: Very intelligent play from New Zealand as they start to keep the ball in the forwards and just go through the phases, frustrating France's efforts to attack with their one-man advantage.

46 mins: PEN & YELLOW CARD New Zealand 13-6 France
Lionel Beauxis kicks ahead for Yannick Jauzion to chase and Luke McAlister knocks the French centre out of the way.

The referee decides to hand McAlister a yellow card, and Beauxis kicks the resulting penalty to cut the gap and give France real hope.

42 mins: France have started the second half with a bang, with some full-blooded attacks down both flanks.

The players seem to have been given permission to run with the ball rather than try to kick the leather off it at every opportunity.

2105: Massive apologies everyone for the delay. It was all down to a total failure of our computer systems here at the BBC - I've run up to another office in a different part of the building which is, so far, unaffected.

We'll do our best to catch up and keep you right up-to-date with the rest of the match.

40 mins: PEN New Zealand 13-3 France
Lionel Beauxis lands a penalty with the final kick of the half to give France some hope going into the half-time break.

38 mins: All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock muscles his way straight through to turn the ball over as France try to attack in the 22.

35 mins: France win a penalty as New Zealand creep offside in midfield, and the kicking duties are handed over to scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde.

But Elissalde, under the watchful gaze of French president Nicolas Sarkozy in the crowd, has no more luck and pushes a fairly straightforward kick wide of the posts.

32 mins: Damien Traille persists with the policy of kicking long and pays the price as the ball rolls over the deadball line, giving New Zealand a scrum 5m inside the French half.

30 mins: PEN New Zealand 13-0 France
Dan Carter kicks a long-range penalty after France are pinged for an offence at the breakdown. This is not going to plan for Les Bleus so far.

Surely they will have to start trusting their instincts and keep the ball in hand?

26 mins: A lovely box-kick from Byron Kelleher gives Sitiveni Sivivatu the chance to absolutely cut Vincent Clerc in half, but France do recycle the ball.

As they have done on every occasion so far, they ignore the possibility of an attack from deep and instead decide to kick long for territory.

22 mins: France win another contested penalty decision after a New Zealand player gets on the wrong side of the ruck. The All Blacks are falling foul of the referee's interpretation at the moment.

But the kick at goal, from a fairly tight angle, by Lionel Beauxis fades right of the post.

Apologies but our updates have been delayed by technical problems. We have been continuing our live coverage and the details will be here in the next couple of minutes - thanks for your patience.

20 mins: "The All Blacks just so confident, that chip ahead in their own 22, they have so much trust in each other. This could get very one-sided."
Hawick on 606

18 mins: TRY & CONVERSION New Zealand 10-0 France
It was only a temporary let-off for France as New Zealand score a fine opening try through centre Luke McAlister.

McAlister cuts a sweet line off Dan Carter and scythes through the French midfield. He checks his stride, stands up the full-back and passes to the supporting Jerry Collins who takes the ball to within 2m of the line before passing back to McAlister who scores.

Carter kicks the conversion for a handsome early lead.

16 mins: Hats off to the diminutive France winger Vincent Clerc as he comes in with a last-ditch tackle on the massive frame of Ali Williams, knocking him into touch by the corner flag as the lock tried to score.

A brilliant break up the middle from Luke McAlister makes the initial line bust, and France are holding on a little at the moment.

14 mins: A horrible slice off the side of Dan Carter's boot gifts France possession deep in the All Blacks' half. France are doing their best to play a territorial game, with Damien Traille kicking for distance at every opportunity.

12 mins: PEN New Zealand 3-0 France
New Zealand open the scoring through Dan Carter's penalty after France are penalised for an infringement at the breakdown in front of their posts.

10 mins: A poor pass from Dan Carter stops New Zealand in their tracks and some really aggressive French defence pushed them back fully 20m.

8 mins: Referee Wayne Barnes penalises New Zealand for the second time at the breakdown, with skipper Richie McCaw pinged for going off his feet. Could this be a potential Achilles heel for New Zealand?

6 mins: Great driving play from the French pack off a Julien Bonnaire line-out take. They make 15m before the ball comes out to the backs on the All Blacks 22.

Yannick Jauzion cuts inside and recycles the ball which is fed back to Damien Traille. Unfortunately for France, his drop-goal is wide of the mark.

5 mins: Serge Betsen is in serious trouble on the floor. The veteran France flanker seems to have been knocked absolutely cold and there are several medical staff on the pitch attending to him after he tackled Joe Rokocoko on the charge.

The damage seems to have been done though by a stray knee to his head as he tried to regain his feet.

Mercifully, he regains consciousness and is helped off the pitch, not entirely sure of his surroundings. Imanol Harinordoquy, sporting the French-est moustache I have ever seen, is the replacement.

A real shame for Betsen, who has been an absolute warrior for France over the years.

4 mins: The first decent All Blacks attack of the match sees the ball worked out wide through the hands to Dan Carter. He is tackled and France manage to turn the ball over - very encouraging start at the breakdown for Les Bleus.

2 mins: Leon MacDonald puts up a massive up-and-under which Lionel Beauxis cannot quite take cleanly. The two sides are just feeling each other out at the moment.

1 min: France fly-half Lionel Beauxis gets the match under way with a kick that must have almost touched the stadium's roof.

After the ball goes loose, New Zealand eventually claim it and Dan Carter finds a good touch inside the French half.

1959: Talk about confrontation. France, arm in arm, line up on the halfway line and are literally inches away from New Zealand's haka.

There is a fair bit of eyeball-to-eyeball contact there. We've got a match on our hands here.

1954: The two teams come out of the tunnel to a massive reception from the crowd. "God defend New Zealand" is the first anthem to be sung, with some gusto, and "La Marseillaise" is also given a fair old rendition. You all know what's next.

1950: "The noise as the Kiwis greet each player's name read out over the PA is ear-splitting. I take back what I said earlier about the roof, although none of us will be able to hear for a week."
BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts at the Millennium Stadium

1949: A very specific prediction here from fleprechaun on 606.

"Damien Traille and Lionel Beauxis to kick and kick and kick again, pinning the All Greys in their own 22 and winning 16-15."

That's a good point actually. New Zealand are going to be playing in their change strip which they wore in their lacklustre 40-0 win over Scotland. Will that have any bearing or are we clutching at the thinnest of straws?

1944: With reference to my 1920 chat on whether New Zealand are, perhaps, "undercooked" for this match.

"Mr. Harlow, you may be right. It could well have been the undoing of Australia in the first quarter-final. But New Zealand's average score in the first round was a little matter of 78-9.

"Weak sides were dispatched with brutality. It doesn't make you think that New Zealand are taking things easy."
CS on 606.

I can't remember the last time I was referred to as Mr. Harlow, thanks for that Mr. CS.

1940: "Come on the All Blacks, it's now or never. From the All Blacks' number one fan. Being born in England, I fell in love with the black shirt as an eight-year-old some 29 years ago.

"I have been waiting in anticipation for the last four years. What a game! God defend New Zealand!"
Mohammed in London, via text

1936: One bit of fresh team news for you all. Andrew Hore comes onto the New Zealand bench in place of Keven Mealamu who has failed to shake off a hamstring injury.

The teams in full then are:

New Zealand: MacDonald, Rokocoko, Muliaina, McAlister, Sivivatu, Carter, Kelleher; Woodcock, Oliver, Hayman, Robinson, Williams, Collins, McCaw (capt), So'oialo.
Replacements: Hore, Tialata, Jack, Masoe , Leonard, Evans, Toeava.

France: Traille, Clerc, Marty, Jauzion, Heymans, Beauxis, Elissalde; Milloud, Ibanez (capt), De Villiers, Pelous, Thion, Betsen, Dusautoir, Bonnaire.
Replacements: Szarzewski, Poux, Chabal, Harinordoquy, Michalak, Dominici, Poitrenaud

1934: "I'd love to see France win because an England v France semi would be a real classic. However, I just can't see it.

"France need to play out of their skins and New Zealand to have an off day."
CS on 606

1927: My esteemed colleague Mark Orlovac is really slogging his guts out for us all in Paris.

With barely a thought for his own welfare, 'Orlo' has moved from The Frog & Rosbif pub, where he watched the England-Australia game, to the Eiffel Tower to take in the atmosphere in the French capital.

"I'm in a giant marquee in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and it is absolutely rammed," he says.

"The big screens are showing endless replays of the 1999 World Cup semi-final (where France launched arguably the most astonishing comeback in rugby union history to beat the All Blacks).

"Every time France score, the place goes potty. Heaven knows what it will be like when the game actually starts."

Bless him.

1920: What about some of the other big talking points coming into this match?

Are New Zealand undercooked after cruising through their group games with one hand behind their back? After thrashing Portugal, Romania, Italy and Scotland B, the All Blacks may well be a little steak tartare, but can France take advantage?

1915: "The turnstiles have been open for an hour and there's probably a couple of thousand in the ground so far. It sounds like the horn sellers have done a roaring trade today although I reckon some might wear out before the game starts (horns, that is, not the sellers).

"The roof is closed but I have to say I prefer it open. For one, rugby is an outdoor sport, and two, it makes it all seem ever so slightly artificial. I'm sure I won't notice once the game starts.

"Earlier today I went for a little stroll pitchside. There's no doubt it's an awe-inspiring venue. But for the purposes of this match, it's just in the wrong country.

"Up close, the pitch looks so small and the stands loom so close and large above it, it's a wonder the players don't lose their marbles - and the waste products from their pre-match meal - under the pressure. I suppose that's why they're pro sportsmen and the rest of us aren't."
BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts at the Millennium Stadium

1910: Shall we get the "why on earth is it being played in Cardiff?" chat out the way, then we can hopefully all settle down for a top-draw match and ignore the rugby politics.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is not vastly different from the general consensus which is that France have got no-one to blame but themselves. If you trade votes for matches like they did to guarantee the support of the Celtic nations, you have to take the rough with the smooth.

Even so, you'd have thought that somebody somewhere among the organisers did not think it might be a good idea to make sure that whoever finished second in France's "group of death" pool would also play their quarter-final in the host country. Obviously not.

1900: "The Rolling Stones might as well have written 'Paint it Black' for Cardiff today, there are that many Kiwis tumbling out of the woodwork.

"I saw my first New Zealand fan at eight in the morning at Clapham Junction and it's been a black haze ever since, like an army of orcs multiplying by the minute.

"Eight hours before the game and Cardiff already resembled a multi-national rugby shirt-wearing jamboree.

"Dotted among the Kiwis were pockets of Frenchmen, isolated and outnumbered, bands of Irishmen, who came anyway despite their side not being here as planned, plenty of English and kilted Scots, some Australians, South Africans, Italians... but funnily enough, hardly any Welsh shirts.

"England's victory over Australia, fuelled by drinking that began well before lunch, has certainly ratcheted up the excitement levels.

"The Kiwis are crowing that they are already in the final (the winners of tonight's match meet England next) and the French, more visible now, have seen the 'impossible' happen and are starting to dream.

"Around every corner there are sporadic bursts of the Marseillaise, watched with affection and respect by the Kiwis and answered now and again by guttural roars that resemble the start of a Haka. No-one seems to want to be the first to let rip properly, though.

"The streets around the Millennium Stadium are buzzing and rammed with people and there's plenty that won't remember the game. If it's anything like the one this afternoon, they'll have missed a cracker."
BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts at the Millennium Stadium

1850: Evening all, I hope we've all had a nice cup of tea and maybe even a couple of custard creams to calm down after the England-Australia game earlier this afternoon.

Not a bad day though, if you're a rugby union fan, as we are just over an hour away from another potentially classic encounter as tournament favourites New Zealand take on hosts France in Cardiff.

Cardiff isn't technically in France, but that's what you get when you muck about with fixtures in exchange for votes.

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