New Zealand completed an unconvincing series sweep over France with another controversial yet comfortable triumph, 49-14, in Dunedin on Saturday.
The All Blacks had profited from refereeing calls in the prior two Tests – France suffering a contentious sin-binning in the first, before Benjamin Fall’s subsequently rescinded red card in the second – and, against a full-strength side, they were worked hard in this one.
A more confident New Zealand display followed the restart, with McKenzie at the fore and Rieko Ioane scoring a hat-trick, as France fell well short.
Yet a series in which Steve Hansen’s side won comfortably on three occasions can offer relatively little encouragement, with slow starts and favourable decisions the central themes.
The visitors then lost key man Morgan Parra to a head injury, but it was his replacement who soon made a deserved breakthrough. Les Bleus worked the ball back and forth in front of the scrambling All Blacks, before Serin sold a dummy and dived across the line.
That try belatedly drew a response from New Zealand, though, and Ben Smith tore through a gaping hole in the French side to equalise.
Matt Todd drove through a maul from a lineout to cross and nudge the hosts in front, but they were pegged back when Wesley Fofana bounced off a pair of tackles to lunge over the line.
However, as an entertaining first half continued, France again had reason to be upset with the officiating when, following a scrum, Lacey inadvertently blocked Serin’s path and McKenzie raced away to score.
That proved to be the boost the All Blacks needed and McKenzie slalomed through for a second try shortly after half-time.
McKenzie then turned provider with a speedy offload to Ioane, who streaked clear for a fifth try, before another ruthless move created an opening for the same man to double his tally.
Debutant Shannon Frizell was denied by a video review, ruled to have fallen just short of the line, but it was a temporary reprieve for France as Ioane got his third to cap the scoring.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) June 23, 2018
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.