Autumn Nations Series Week 4: France defeat the All Blacks as England edge out Springboks

Penaud v NZ
France defeated New Zealand in an impressive 40-25 win in Paris in the final week of the Autumn Nations Series.

France defeated New Zealand in an impressive 40-25 win in Paris in the final week of the Autumn Nations Series.

England overhauled world champions South Africa at Twickenham earlier on in the day, while Wales edged Australia in Cardiff in another one-pointer

Earlier in the day Italy picked up a crucial win against Uruguay and Stuart Hogg became Scotland’s record try scorer in the win against Japan.

On Sunday, Ireland completed a perfect Autumn Nations Series campaign of their own as Andy Farrell’s men ran in seven tries in a 53-7 victory over Argentina.

France were mightily impressive in Paris, defeating the All Blacks in the capital for the first time since 1973 to finish unbeaten this Autumn.

They got off to a sensational start, with an early try from hooker Peato Mauvaka, which was then followed up with a second try by Romain Ntamack nine minutes later.

New Zealand responded with two penalties, but the Les Bleus kept their relentless pressure going and it wasn’t long before they scored a third first-half try, again through Mauvaka.

The All Blacks came flying out of the blocks in the second half, and the 24-6 half-time lead the French had was reduced to just 27-25 after Jordie Barrett’s score and two from Rieko Ioane.

Melvyn Jaminet extended the French lead with his boot, before Damian Penaud scored an intercept try to take the game away from France and record an historic victory in Paris.

Eddie Jones’ side got off to a flying start, Manu Tuilagi opening the scoring inside the first six minutes.

Tuilagi was forced off with an injury but the Red Rose did not relent as player of the match Freddie Steward bundled over and with Marcus Smith in fine form off the tee the home side were 14-3 up before the end of the first quarter.

South Africa kept themselves in the game with five kicks from Handre Pollard as England gave away too many penalties.

Raffi Quirke’s first England try got England back in front after Joe Marchant’s searing break, but Makazole Mapimpi’s score and a Frans Steyn penalty looked to have given South Africa the edge.

However, a 79th-minute penalty for man of the moment Marcus Smith delighted the home crowd and gave England a famous victory against the No.1 side in the world.

Reigning Guinness Six Nations champions Wales escaped with victory against Australia courtesy of Rhys Priestland’s penalty with the clock in the red.

Wayne Pivac’s side rounded off their Autumn Nations Series victory with an important victory in a thrilling game in Cardiff ahead of their championship defence in 2022.

Australia roared into action at the start of the game after Hunter Paisami’s gorgeous grubber allowed Andrew Kellaway to score just two minutes in at the Principality Stadium.

Dan Biggar got a penalty back for the hosts before the Wallabies were reduced to 14 with No.8 Rob Valetini sent-off for making head-on-head contact in a tackle on Adam Beard.

Biggar and James O’Connor traded penalties before Kurtley Beale was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on and Wales capitalised immediately as hooker Ryan Elias dived in at the corner.

Wales led 16-13 at half-time and Nick Tompkins scored a fortuitous try after the break when his slap back was adjudged to have gone backwards before Gareth Thomas was sin-binned for a dangerous clearout.

Australia scrum-half Nic White put the finishing touches on a super team move started by Beale only for Biggar to kick another penalty to make it 26-20.

Filipo Daugunu’s acrobatic finish gave Australia a crucial try after Paisami’s searing break, but O’Connor’s conversion struck the post to leave Wales one point ahead.

Kurtley Beale’s long-range effort appeared to have given Dave Rennie’s side the win until replacement fly-half Priestland showed nerves of steel after Wales had surged down field and Australia were penalised for being offside on their own tryline.

Stuart Hogg scored his 25th try for Scotland to take him clear at the top of the all-time standings in his side’s win over Japan.

The Scotland skipper dotted down for his third try in two weeks having landed a double and equalled the record in the defeat against the Springboks.

Hogg’s side-step and finish midway through the first half was Scotland’s second score and took him clear of Tony Stanger and Ian Smith.

Duhan van der Merwe got the opening try before Darcy Graham and replacement Stuart McInally also crossed the whitewash.

Japan, who had beaten Gregor Townsend’s men 28-21 in their last meeting at the World Cup, scored through Tevita Tatafu with 17 minutes left but Rikiya Matsuda, who kicked five penalties, missed the conversion.

Matsuda slotted a penalty to get his side within six, but Scotland responded with one of their own from Finn Russell late on to seal victory and a successful Autumn Nations Series, having won three of their four games.

The win that many expected for Italy finally came against Uruguay but not in the fashion predicted.

Tries from debutants Pierre Bruno and Epalahame Faiva gave Kieran Crowley’s men a deserved win.

Fly-half Paolo Garbisi added seven points with the boot but despite having several chances, Italy were never able to shake off Los Teros.

The Uruguayans scored a try of their own when Santiago Civetta bundled over from close range.

Replacement Agustin Ormaechea slotted the conversion as the South Americans narrowed the gap to seven in the final quarter.

They piled the pressure on the Italian line late on but were unable to force a historic result of their own, Italy holding on in Parma to secure a much-needed win to bring the curtain down on their Autumn Nations Series.