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New Zealand vs France 3rd Test Preview

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The All Blacks have already won the three Test series against France but they
will be aiming to get more from their new “integrated” style with
Dan Carter returning to the team for the third and final Test on Saturday.

Despite winning 23-13 in Auckland before shutting out France 30-0 in Christchurch,
assistant coach Ian Foster said they were still a long way from the balanced
running-kicking game they desire.

“The key for us now is learning how to integrate both styles,” Foster
said ahead of the final match in New Plymouth.

The return of playmaker Carter, who missed the first two Tests because of a
broken hand, is one of five changes to the All Blacks while France, desperate
to avoid a whitewash, have made eight.

When Aaron Cruden directed play in the first two Tests, the All Blacks favoured
a running game first up before switching to a more successful kicking tactic
a week later.

Carter, with his vision and experience, is expected to mix up the plays and
deny France any sense of predictability.

Head coach Steve Hansen described the impressive 30-0 victory in Christchurch
as “a step forward to where we want to go” but said he wants Carter
to lift the side to greater heights.

“I don’t think France will give us the backfield as easily as they did
last time. If we can integrate our running game and kicking game and take the
right options at the right time, I’ll be really pleased.”

Notable among the other All Blacks changes are a starting role for scrumhalf
Piri Weepu, playing his 71st Test with his future under threat from Aaron Smith,
who started the first two Tests, and replacement Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

Victor Vito replaces Liam Messam in the six jersey as the All Blacks continue
to search for an imposing blindside flanker to fill the role vacated by Jerome
Kaino after the 2011 World Cup.

If Vito doesn’t seize this chance then Steve Lautua is waiting on the bench.

Lautua is covering both lock and six for his prospective debut while the other
newcomers likely to get a run in the second half are Matt Todd, a specialist
openside, and fullback Charles Piutau.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has named an inexperienced and unproven combination
for the third and final test against New Zealand, taking the chance to give
some young players a chance in a game with nothing on the line.

After finishing last in the Six Nations championship and losing the first two
tests of a rare three-test series against the All Blacks, France have chosen
to at least salvage something from a barren season by testing new players in
rugby’s toughest environment.

Saint-Andre has made eight changes to the team which lost last weekend’ and
has called on a cadre of newcomers for Saturday’s finale.

It has not been a champagne year for France — bottom of the Six Nations and
already 2-0 down in New Zealand — but coach Philippe Saint-Andre is eager to
point out the positives.

“For two Tests we have had more possession than the All Blacks. So the
guys can keep the ball, they can play rugby, they can create opportunities,”
he said.

Two of the eight French changes are straight replacements for the injured Louis
Picamoles and Frederic Michalak, and six are players “who can bring us
some creativity and a lot of urgency” with an eye on the 2015 World Cup.

The new halves pair of Jean-Marc Doussain and Remi Tales have just three caps
between them, while fullback Brice Dulin and wing Marc Andreu have both played
six Tests.

In the forwards Benjamin Kayser (18 Tests) starts at hooker and Alexandre Flanquart
(one Test) at lock. South African-born Antonie Claassen (three Tests) and Damien
Chouly (nine Tests) join the back row.

Saint-Andre said the French preparation has be

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