France held off a second-half fightback from New Zealand to claim a 40-25 victory in Paris and end a 14-match losing streak against the All Blacks.
New Zealand, who made seven changes as they looked for an immediate response to last weekend’s 29-20 loss to Ireland, trailed 24-6 at half-time as a rampant home side took complete control at the Stade de France.
However, three tries in 12 minutes after the interval – from Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane and Ardie Savea – saw New Zealand close to within two points of their hosts at 27-25, as well as becoming the first team in Test match history to score 100 tries in a single season.
At that point French hopes of a first win over the three-time World Cup winners since 2009 – and first on home soil since a 42-33 triumph in Marseille in 2000 – looked to be fading fast, but an incident in the 63rd minute saw the pendulum swing back their way.
Savea was sent to the sin-bin to reduce New Zealand to 14 men and France took full advantage with Melvyn Jaminet slotting over the resulting penalty before Damian Penaud broke away for an interception try.
At 37-25 down, there was no way back for New Zealand and France, who had seen Peato Mauvaka score twice either side of Romain Ntamack’s try in a dominant first-half display, wrapped up a memorable win with Jaminet’s late penalty.
The home side’s stunning performance completed a perfect series for France after wins against Argentina and Georgia, and gave them their first victory in Paris against the All Blacks since 1973, two years before they host the World Cup.
France coach Fabien Galthie said: “We had this game in mind as a moment of truth. The team lived up to what we promised ourselves.”
“That’s not the way we wanted to finish our year,” said New Zealand’s captain, Samuel Whitelock. “No excuses at all – they were better than us. It hurts to say that but we’ve got to hold on to that feeling because we don’t want to feel it again.”