New Zealand All Blacks Rugby News

All Blacks whitewash France and take the series

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New Zealand’s All Blacks extended their winning streak over France to six consecutive matches when they beat France 30-0 in Christchurch.

The All Blacks beat France 23-13 in the first of three tests last weekend and this weekend’s victory seals the series for the Rugby World Cup champions.

The All Blacks were less convincing in the first Test match last week despite the 10 point victory but they were a far more impressive team in the second test whilst also managing to keep the French scoreless for the first time in 53 Test matches.

An astute kicking game laid the groundwork and the All Blacks powered home
after an early try to Julian Savea and two crowd-pleasing scores in the second
half from Ben Smith and Beauden Barrett.

New Zealand’s 378th victory in 500 internationals, which makes them one of
the most successful teams in all sports, follows last week’s 23-13 win in Auckland
and gives them an unassailable 2-0 lead with a game to spare.

The match was the All Blacks 500th Test and they led 10-0 at halftime and added
20 points in the second half while continuing to keep France scoreless.

The renowned flair of the French made them a threat when they had an opportunity
to run with the ball, but their opportunities were few as they were continually
forced into a defensive game by an All Blacks aerial bombardment.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had demanded an improvement on the stumbling
first Test win in Auckland a week ago, and the team took notice.

Before a capacity crowd of 21,000 who braved chilly, wet conditions, they were
a far more settled unit the second time around against their 2011 World Cup
final opponents.

Kieran Read and Liam Messam lead an effective nullifying of the French strength
at the breakdown, and the scrum held its own despite the addition of Nicolas
Mas into the French front row.

But it was the kicking game, so wayward a week ago, that produced the result
as France were kept pinned deep in their own half.

Their best opportunity to breach the All Blacks defence came early in the second
half when a series of pick-and-goes, and half-breaks by Wesley Fofana and Yohann
Huget, took them through 17 phases inside the All Blacks 22.

However, when the move eventually broke down, the All Blacks showed their game
was not all about kicking and triggered a length-of-the-field counter-attack
that ended with a try to Ben Smith under the posts.

But it was their kicking that engineered their first try, in the third minute
of the game when they drilled France into a corner.

Sam Whitelock stole the defensive lineout from debutant Bernard le Roux and
a delicately weighted grubber kick from centre Ma’a Nonu allowed Savea to scamper
over for the try.

Despite a superior territory advantage the All Blacks had to wait 15 minutes,
and at a rare moment when they were inside their own 22, to set up their next
points.

A Frederic Michalak penalty attempt bounced off the upright into the arms of
Kieran Read, playing his 50th Test, and the All Blacks captain swatted aside
tacklers in a 50-metre run upfield.

When he was lowered, a Cruden kick took the All Blacks up to the line where
the desperately defending French conceded a penalty which the flyhalf converted
into three points.

For the rest of the half, the defending French, led by the hard-hitting Thierry
Dusautoir, the “the Dark Destroyer”, kept the All Blacks at bay.

The big French push at the start of the second half came unstuck when out of
frustration at not being able to breach the All Blacks defence they reverted
to a drop-goal attempt, only for Sam Cane to charge down Michalak’s kick.

The All Blacks recovered the ball with Savea leading the break down-field and
sending Ben Smith over fo

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