All Blacks beat France to win rugby World Cup
New Zealand has defeated France in the Rugby World Cup final, clinging on for a tense 8-7 triumph at a packed Eden Park in Auckland.
The victory hands the All Blacks their second World Cup triumph after defeating the French in the final when they hosted the tournament in 1987.
It is the third time France has lost in a World Cup decider following defeats in 1999 to Australia and against New Zealand 24 years ago.
In the lowest scoring final in World Cup history, the All Blacks prevailed by the smallest margin courtesy of a first-half try to prop Tony Woodcock and a penalty goal by replacement fly half Stephen Donald.
France trailed 5-0 at half-time but a converted try to captain Thierry Dusautoir seven minutes after the break narrowed the margin to one point and set up a thrilling finale.
The underdogs dominated possession and field position for the majority of the final 20 minutes but some brave All Blacks defence and effective ball retention delivered the win.
Woodcock was an unlikely first try-scorer after 15 minutes, crossing the line to cap off a wonderful line-out set play by the hosts in attacking territory.
But the All Blacks struggled to extend their advantage in a nervy first half, with scrum-half Piri Weepu missing two penalties and a conversion attempt.
Adding to the drama, 22-year-old New Zealand fly Aaron Cruden limped off with six minutes left in the first half and was replaced by the All Blacks’ fourth-choice number 10, Donald.
France started the game with some enterprising, running rugby but was dealt an injury blow of its own when playmaker Morgan Parra was forced out of the game after just 23 minutes.