France v All Blacks Rugby World Cup 2023

Key quotes after France defeated New Zealand in the opening game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup at the Stade de France on Friday, 8 September. Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP

France v All Blacks: ALL the key quotes after Rugby World Cup opener

Key quotes after France defeated New Zealand in the opening game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup at the Stade de France on Friday, 8 September.

France v All Blacks Rugby World Cup 2023

Key quotes after France defeated New Zealand in the opening game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup at the Stade de France on Friday, 8 September. Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP

Key quotes after France defeated New Zealand 27-13 in the opening game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup at the Stade de France on Friday, 8 September.

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“It was important to begin well by winning even if it was not a knockout match. It was the culmination of our work before the tournament. We felt a lot of pressure in the first half and found it tough to relax and express ourselves. The start was terrible for us as they scored quickly, then we lost (Julien) Marchand but we succeeded little by little to get back into it and (Thomas) Ramos helped us to keep the score ticking over.”

– France coach Fabien Galthie to French broadcaster TF1

“The ball was slippery but our attitude and character was good despite an average first half. The second half we dominated and we are very satisfied with the victory.”

– France fullback Thomas Ramos to TF1 after kicking 17 points.

“It was a massive game for our team today and I am proud to be French tonight. The support was massive and it is just fantastic to get support like this. We are just looking forward to the next game but we said if we lost today it is not the end of the World Cup. But we are not champion now so we just have to keep working and go step by step.”

– France back-rower Gregory Alldritt, speaking to ITV.

“It was a battle, it was going back and forwards. Just in that last 20 minutes our discipline let us down, we weren’t clinical enough in our own half and they punished us.”

– All Blacks stand-in captain Ardie Savea to Sky Sports.

“We always have to stay ready and that was just one of the scenarios that happened. We just have to adapt and adjust. It’s tough when you lose your skipper, the boys that came in filled the job right, unfortunately we didn’t get the win.”

– Savea on the pre-game injury suffered by regular captain Sam Cane.

“We looked anxious when we had the ball, but we just let ourselves down around being patient and clinical in our skill set. We lost the battle tonight but we still got a war to win.”

– Savea on the game and rest of the tournament.

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By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse