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All Blacks 38 France 18 - Match review

Dane Coles runs in to score the opening try

It was a game of two halves in Paris today as the All Blacks beat France 38-18.

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After a dominant four try opening 40 minutes, the All Blacks fell asleep and the home side came out firing. However the world champions hung on for victory due to some French inexperience at set piece.

The first half saw the All Blacks cross four times, the first off a dominant scrum and then quick dart by Aaron Smith. This set up space for Dane Coles to walk over back the other way next to the posts after 10 minutes.

Another good scrum saw space opened up for Waisake Naholo 14 minutes later, before the French hit back with a nice try to Teddy Thomas. However, that was very much against the run of play – with the home side only spending 19 seconds in the All Blacks’ 22 in the whole first 40 minutes.

Two quick strikes before the break very much settled the outcome, the first to Ryan Crotty after a lovely kick through by Sonny Bill Williams. Straight off the kick off the All Blacks concocted a try for the season highlights reel, Rieko Ioane and Damian McKenzie combining in a 60 metre effort to send Sam Cane over.

The second half was a completely different story, however, with debutant Anthony Belleau kicking a penalty and then Sonny Bill Williams earning himself a yellow card and giving away a penalty try. The former NRL star must have forgotten he was playing union as he batted a Belleau cross kick over the dead ball line.

Teddy Thomas almost got a double but his foot was in touch before he grounded the ball, but a stream of penalties and All Black handling errors gave France plenty of opportunities.

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With a bit more experience, the French could’ve taken advantage – however they kept reverting to a scrum and lineout that weren’t 100% firing.

It took the All Blacks until the dying minutes to finally get something going in the second half, with Naholo getting a double on the stroke of fulltime.

They now travel to Edinburgh to face Scotland in their next test match, while France face South Africa next weekend.

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William 1 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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