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Spirited France XV come up short against New Zealand

By Ben Spratt
New Zealand take on France in Lyon

An experimental New Zealand side held off a France XV to win 28-23 in Lyon as Les Bleus’ miserable recent record continued.


The All Blacks defeated France in Paris on Saturday, with the hosts without a win since the Six Nations ended in March.

Although New Zealand were without a number of key men for this second fixture, they still had too much for the hosts, who led at half-time and then mustered another rally late on.

The visitors moved ahead through Liam Squire’s try, with Lima Sopoaga converting before France responded in kind with Gabriel Lacroix’s converted score.

Matt Duffie’s try helped restore New Zealand’s seven-point lead, but Lacroix again hit back and Trinh-Duc’s penalty – after a missed conversion – secured France’s 15-14 advantage at the break.

The All Blacks came roaring out of the blocks after the restart, though, and Nathan Harris’ disallowed try was only a temporary reprieve for the home side.

Patrick Tuipulotu scored and the conversion followed before Ngani Laumape followed suit. Richie Mo’unga – one of a number of debutants – kicked well to open up a 28-15 lead.


Jules Plisson’s penalty goal gave France hope and Henry Chavancy then went over for 28-23, but they could not muster a crucial fourth try.


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William 3 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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TRENDING Time to say goodbye to this Springboks team Time to say goodbye to this Springboks team