New Zealand claimed an impressive victory over France in Marseille (39-12) to round up their northern hemisphere tour without a loss and avenge their 2007 World Cup defeat against the hosts.
AFP - New Zealand continued their unbeaten tour of the northern hemisphere with a comprehensive 39-12 win over France here on Saturday thanks to their commitment to a running style of rugby.
The All Blacks, having already seen off Wales (19-12), Italy (20-6) and England (19-6) without really hitting second gear, showed a welcome willingness to spurn the aerial ping-pong that has marked many games of late.
In return, their sure-handedness in the offload and ability to turn the slightest mistake by the French into an attacking opportunity made for some often breath-taking rugby that resulted in five tries.
The visitors overcame a nervous opening 10 minutes to score five-pointers through Sitiveni Sivivatu, Mils Muliaina, Jerome Kaino, Cory Jane and Conrad Smith, with the exceptional Dan Carter booting an additional 14 points.
France, who had sprung a 20-13 win over South Africa and posted a facile 43-5 victory over Samoa in their autumn internationals, responded with three Julien Dupuy penalties and a Francois Trinh-Duc drop-goal.
A tremendous shunt from the French pack at the first scrum on New Zealand ball saw the visiting front row buckle and pop under pressure, and Dupuy made no mistake from 35 metres after three minutes.
But the All Blacks came firing back, Yannick Jauzion hauling down Ma'a Nonu within striking distance of the French line but Sitivatu skipped through the threadbare defence after quick ball from the resulting ruck.
Carter converted and was then on hand to produce a potential try-saving tackle on Fabien Barcella after Jauzion had exploited a huge hole in midfield.
Dupuy kicked his second penalty on the quarter-hour mark after Julien Bonnaire had been obstructed at an attacking line-out to pull the score back to 7-6.
The Stade Francais scrum-half added to his tally when flanker Kaino released his binding from another scrum under enormous pressure.
France had a lucky break when Trinh-Duc's clearing kick from the restart was charged down by Jimmy Cowan, but the All Black scrum-half just failed to ground the ball.
But after a bad tactical choice by Dupuy, Cowan spread the ball wide in the New Zealand 22m area, the speeding Sivivatu turning provider by drawing Vincent Clerc and offloading to full-back Muliaina for an easy try.
Carter missed the conversion but grabbed a 29th minute penalty when Jauzion failed to roll away after tackling the dangerous-looking Nonu.
Tom Donnelly then spilled the ball over the line after Nonu gathered Carter's clever chip and fed a galloping Kieran Read.
The French front-five crumbled in the ensuing scrum, Kaino touching down amid a mass of bodies for a try Carter converted.
Trinh-Duc pulled back three points with a 35-metre drop-goal to leave the All Blacks 22-12 up at half-time.
Dupuy missed two pots at goal early in the second-half either side of a successful Carter effort and French heads went down.
Carter, who was part of Perpignan's Top 14-winning side last season, then enjoyed an impressive cameo for a full 10 minutes, giving a textbook demonstration on why many consider himself the world's best rugby player, mixing solid defence with deft handling touches and chips.
Jane scored the All Blacks' fourth try in the 61st minute, finding himself in space down the right flank and gathering his own chip over Traille to touch down. Carter converted.
Smith rubbed French noses in it when he skipped down the blindside unmolested for a try Carter also converted as tempers frayed between a well-beaten home side and an All Blacks team that now play the Barbarians in London next week.
Date created : 2009-11-28