The result may have been lopsided and the French may have been demolished but that did not stop the fans from celebrating and the players from coming together, as the game was entirely one-sided and ended up 48-0 in favour of the Kiwis.
With no Sonny Bill Williams, the New Zealanders still fielded quite a strong side and it was Shaun Johnson who stood up when it mattered as he scored 24 points – half of the total points for the Kiwis – with several players performing and doing so well.
With the polished performance coming just at the right time, the 17,518 strong crowd cheered endlessly and for Richard Agar – the French coach – he is familiar with Stephen Kearney having coach the New Zealand coach at Hull.
“I coached Stephen Kearney at Hull; we decided to go out for a quiet beer the night before the game,” Agar said.
In a sign of goodwill and a gesture that does not happen often in the world of international rugby league, both sets of teams got together and enjoyed each other’s company after the game.
“I took some members of my staff, he brought some of his,” said Agar.
“And we decided whoever won tonight would go to the other team’s dressing room at full-time.
“They came and shared a beer and a sandwich, and a bit of a dance. I came back from the press conference straight into what I was a nightclub.
For Kiwis captain Simon Mannering, the post-game festivities was one that he really enjoyed.
“It brings back memories from the old days,” said Mannering.
“Unfortunately in the professional game, we sort of miss out on that now. As a player, I definitely think it’s a bit sad that we don’t do it anymore.
“It was a really physical battle out there and it was nice to go down there and share a beer.”
With several Kiwis players battling it out for spots moving forward in the competition, Kearney was pleased with his side’s performance.
“Ben Matulino really showed what he was capable of tonight,” said Kearney, who described the match as “a wonderful occasion for our game”.
“Frank Paul Nuausala played well. There were some guys who made the decision for us really difficult.”
NEW ZEALAND 48 (S Johnson 2 F Nuuausala 2 G Eastwood B Goodwin K Inu R Tuivasa-Sheck tries S Johnson 8 goals) bt FRANCE 0 at Parc des Sports Avignon. Referee: Phil Bentham. Crowd: 17,518.