Match Review

France beat 'beautiful and fabulous' New Zealand 27-13 in opener

France full-back Thomas Ramos kicked 17 points as the hosts overcame New Zealand in the opening match of Rugby World Cup 2023 at the Stade de France.

The All Blacks scored after just 92 seconds when Mark Telea touched down Beauden Barrett’s precise cross-kick, but three Ramos penalties helped Les Bleus into a 9-8 half-time lead.

Telea’s second try, from Richie Mo’unga’s floated pass, put New Zealand back in front but after Damian Penaud was denied a try by Mo’unga’s tackle, France seized the momentum.

Paps and Sua star as Storm spoil Broncos party plan

In what could end up being a preview of what awaits in week one of the post-season – with the two clubs every chance of meeting again next week – the Storm had to come from behind on three separate occasions at Suncorp Stadium and had too much class in the end. 

With both sides opting to rest the majority of their frontline stars, Papenhuyzen had a huge impact at fullback, running for 135 metres, scoring a try and setting one up, in addition to kicking four from six off the tee. 

Kaufusi Origin fears as Storm hold off Dolphins

With ex-Storm forwards Jesse and Kenny Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi in the Dolphins pack, the game exploded early with Origin ramifications for Queensland.  

The Maroons selection hopes of Kaufusi are in doubt after he was sin-binned for a high shot on Melbourne prop Christian Welsh in just the second minute of the match against his former club.

Kaufusi only recently returned after serving a four-match ban for a late tackle on Knights playmaker Jackson Hastings and any suspension will rule him out of Maroons selection.

Brooks steers Tigers to record win in 200th game

Watched on by family, friends and former team-mates, including Mitchell Moses and Josh Reynolds, Brooks was at his attacking best; running 213 metres with the ball and laying on two tries as Wests Tigers romped to their third win in four weeks.

The win was the first in the history of Wests Tigers or the 1908 foundation clubs who formed the joint venture in 2000, Balmain or Western Suburbs, in which they had scored 66 points.

The 48-point margin was also the heaviest defeat by a Cowboys team since North Queensland joined the premiership in 1995.

Kennedy, Hynes shine as Sharks prove too good for Knights

With Nicho Hynes and Will Kennedy in slashing form the Sharks racked up a seventh win of the season to join the Panthers, Rabbitohs and Broncos on 16 competition points.

The Sharks struck first in the seventh minute when Kennedy sliced through the Knights' left side defence to grab his 11th try of the season.

Five minutes later the Sharks looked to have a second when Hynes finished off brilliant lead-up work by Connor Tracey but the try was ruled out for obstruction by Dale Finucane in the lead-up.

Points aplenty as Raiders edge past Bulldogs

Tries from Jordan Rapana early in each half helped the Raiders, while lock Corey Horsburgh put in another powerful performance which included 174 run metres and four tackle breaks. 

Up by 10 with four minutes to play, the Raiders had to endure a nervous finish when the Bulldogs were awarded a penalty try after Hayze Perham was tackled off the ball metres from the line, but held on to secure their fourth win in a row. 

The first half saw action aplenty at both ends, with seven tries scored in an opening 40 minutes in which the Raiders took a 22-18 lead into the sheds. 

Great Scott: Cowboys No.1 gun fires in win over Knights

In his third game back after a three-game suspension, Drinkwater ran for 216 metres and had two try assists as the Cowboys put a dampener on Ponga's 100th NRL game and his first since Round 2 due to concussion.

The Cowboys struck the first blow when Drinkwater exploded into space and found Reece Robson backing up inside for the game's opening try.

Triple threat: Kennedy stars as Sharks edge past Bulldogs

Kennedy did the damage with 16 minutes of magic in the first half and the Sharks did enough from there to make it back-to-back wins for the first time in 2023.

After the Bulldogs opened the scoring with an early penalty goal to Matt Burton the Sharks struck twice in the space of three minutes to blow the game open.

Both the tries came courtesy of Kennedy who backed up a Briton Nikora break to score in the seventh minute and then flew high to pull down a Matt Moylan bomb for his second. Nicho Hynes converted both tries for a 12-2 lead.

Broncos survive late scare to down Eels in Darwin

The Broncos ran in four tries in the opening 40 minutes to set up a 22-6 lead with the combination of halves Adam Reynolds and Ezra Mam running riot on the back of a strong platform set by Payne Haas and Pat Carrigan up front early.

The ladder leaders then controlled the game in the second half with a further two penalty goals ruling out any chance of an Eels comeback despite two tries in five minutes giving the home side a sniff. 

Vipers thump Eagles

A very challenging speech by NCD Governor and Patron of the Port Moresby Vipers Powes Parkop at the club’s season launch on Wednesday night seemed to have done the trick. Viper met old arch rival club Mt.Hagen Eagles in round 1 of the renamed Digicel ExxonMobil Cup on Sunday, and beat them.

After playing second fiddle to old and new franchise clubs over the past decade, the Vipers seemed to have recruited big on the offseason which was evident against the Eagles on Sunday.