New Zealand All Blacks Rugby News

Hansen : All Black kicking tactics beat France



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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says that a switch to unusual kicking game which helped them to a 30-0 victory over France in Christchurch.

The result is the first time in 53 Test matches between the teams that France have failed to score against the All Blacks.

On a cold, rainy night it was a vastly improved performance from the untidy 23-13 in the first Test in Auckland, when the All Blacks were frustrated by the close-marking French.

Although the All Blacks have successfully championed a running game since Hansen took over after they won the 2011 World Cup, the coach said France dictated a change of tactics by the way they defended a week ago.

“We just felt that if you can’t run the ball because there’s a wall in front of you there’s got to be space somewhere else,” Hansen said.

“That space was there last week but we didn’t have ourselves organised to utilise it and tonight we did. That put pressure on them. They had to keep turning around and the conditions were well suited to what we were doing as well.”

When the All Blacks scored in the opening minutes of the game, after a Ma’a Nonu kick had drilled France into a corner, Hansen sensed his plan was the right one.

“We went to the middle of the park, switched back the other way and Ma’s put a lovely kick behind a defensive line that had no sweeper — so it was good,” he said.

That kick led to the All Blacks’ first try by Julian Savea, when Sam Whitelock won the French defensive throw-in.

However, Ben Smith and Beauden Barrett both scored in the second half from length-of-the-field breaks when the All Blacks opted to run rather than kick when pinned on their own line.

Flyhalf Aaron Cruden added the extra points from three conversions and three penalties as the All Blacks took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series against their 2011 World Cup final opponents.

The result is New Zealand’s 378th victory in 500 internationals, which makes
them one of the most successful teams in all sports.

“I’m extremely happy,” said All Blacks captain Kieran Read.

“The effort we put in in defence really showed the character we have got.
It’s not easy on a (wet) night like this and the boys really stepped up.”

The home team led 10-0 at half-time and added 20 points in the second period,
while France, who ran New Zealand close last week, finished scoreless against
them for the first time.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t score any points tonight. They played very
well with great defence,” said French skipper Thierry Dusautoir.

“We’re hoping to do the maximum to fight back in order to win that one
Test. There’s one Test left so we’re going to do the maximum to win.”

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