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All Blacks hold out resurgent France

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    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Steve Hansen says his hot and cold All Blacks have learned another important lesson in Paris.

    The world champions produced the latest of many stuttering displays this year in seeing off a resurgent France 38-18 on Saturday.

    It was a classic Test of two halves, with New Zealand having romped 31-5 clear in an alarmingly one-sided first spell before threatening to melt in the face of an inspired home side after the break.

    Four of New Zealand’s five tries came in the compelling opening 40 minutes.

    The messiness after halftime was encapsulated by a brain fade from second five-eighth Sonny Bill Williams which resulted in a yellow card and penalty try.

    With little pressure on him, Williams deliberately batted a cross kick over the dead ball line, a play he would have got away with in his former code league.

    It seemed to ignite the French, who dominated 88 per cent of territory in the second half and were only denied by some staunch All Blacks defence in the slippery conditions.

    Hansen says while there are positives to take from the five-tries-to-two win, he can understand why there is frustration at his team’s inconsistency.

    Poor discipline, most notably 11 penalties conceded after halftime, was their biggest fault, he said.

    “As a result of that, we allowed the momentum to shift.

    “The French were good enough to take advantage and put us under pressure but I was happy with the way we fought our way through it.

    “We’d scored enough points in the first half to get the job done.”

    Hansen repeated his refrain of several months now that it will take time for several new players he is blooding this year to come up to Test standard.

    “We’ve just got to be patient and keep making sure that off the park we’re learning as much as we can.”

    The All Blacks got on top early against an injury-ravaged French side fielding six uncapped players and two young halves making their first Test starts.

    Playmaker Beauden Barrett, who missed last month’s loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane, was influential in general play and landed all his six shots at goal.

    Barrett set up the first two tries with neat passes – the first a short ball to hooker Dane Coles and the second a loopy cut-out to winger Waisake Naholo.

    France responded with a slick team try to winger Teddy Thomas, reducing the scoreline to 17-5.

    With French prop Rabah Slimani in the sin bin for repeat scrum offences, the All Blacks crossed twice through centre Ryan Crotty and flanker Sam Cane.

    First five-eighth Anthony Belleau, who enjoyed a promising debut, landed penalty goals either side of the penalty try as France threatened their first win over the All Blacks in 11 Tests.

    The All Blacks scored against the run of play on the final hooter when Naholo bagged his second try.

    Hansen said Coles was to have his left knee assessed after exiting the Test in the first half.

    Captain Kieran Read was replaced because of a groin niggle which Hansen didn’t rate as serious.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (52)

    • November 12th 2017 @ 2:00pm
      Jumbo said | November 12th 2017 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

      Beat an international team by 20 points and still have to explain yourself? I suppose that’s what you get, when you set the bar high. All blacks depth next year will be deeper than ever, the likes of naholo and mckenzie will be coming off the bench next season aswel as the starting props. We really miss rettalicks brute strength and squire/ kaino metre eating carries tonight, but they will be back. Would like to see duffy get some time, I believe he could be a real weapon at 14 ,he is a specialist in the air and still has that rugby league finishing ability about him.

      • November 12th 2017 @ 5:58pm
        Winston said | November 12th 2017 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

        Beat an international team by 20 points and still have to explain yourself?

        Exactly what I was thinking

      • November 12th 2017 @ 6:48pm
        KiwiHaydn said | November 12th 2017 @ 6:48pm | ! Report

        ABs were up by 13 with 30 to go and the commentators started talking about how this was going to be the first time France beat the ABs at Stade de Francais.

        • November 12th 2017 @ 7:20pm
          Chas said | November 12th 2017 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

          Who were the commentators?

          • November 12th 2017 @ 7:28pm
            Cuw said | November 12th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

            probably the BBC ones , if it was English.

            a lot was said about the number of matches played there and that france have lost them all ( was it 8 matches ?)

            i wont blame the optimism , given NZ had 14 on the park and all the play for about 15 minutes at the start of the 2nd half was by France.

            they also talked about what others had said – like Conrad Smith , Colin Slade … that how to beat the All Blacks

            ” u have to believe in ur self, show no fear and capitalize on NZ mistakes ”

            then the commentary said those guys did not say NZ will lose , but the other team will have a chance to win 🙂

            • Roar Guru

              November 13th 2017 @ 11:09am
              John R said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:09am | ! Report

              The English bloke commentating on BeIn sports sounded like he was creaming his pants for the entire second half.

              ‘They’ve reallllyyyy upset the apple cart here the French’ mate, they’re losing by more than two tries!

    • November 12th 2017 @ 3:06pm
      Jacko said | November 12th 2017 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

      Didnt Monsieur Gardeneur have a great second half for the French.

      • November 12th 2017 @ 3:34pm
        Cuw said | November 12th 2017 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

        for me he made 2 very bad errors.

        one was when the french hooker hit Read on the face in attempting to tackle. after looking at on telly , he said there is nothing in it .

        how can that be?? doesnt the protocols say any tackle above shoulder is a penalty and any head contact is a yellow card? or were those protocols changed for this game.

        my issue id not who was involved or who is wrong. my issue is there is no consistency – coz quite a lot of guys have been yellow carded for simillar things, simply coz its what the powers that be have said it shud be!

        the penalty try was a farce. Read asked him , ” so he would have scored ?” coz that is what the ref has to be sure of. Gardener’s logic was if SBW did not slap it out the french wing would have caught the ball. he did not consider the event that SBW will try to catch it. he assumed SBW just standing there and letting the wing catch it coz that is what he implied ” the trajectory would have ended up in the wingers arms ” , or something to that effect. LOL

        else he had an ok game. i thought the England game was reffed much better.

        • November 12th 2017 @ 4:39pm
          Fionn said | November 12th 2017 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

          Cuw, it was a penalty try. Irrelevant that SBW would have stopped it had he not infringed.

          Quote Hansen:

          “I was surprised until Fozzie [assistant coach Ian Foster] told me the rules. I didn’t realise that, once he committed that foul play, he was then deemed to be invisible. If you commit foul play ingoal you’re not there. Once I understood that, it was obviously going to be a penalty try because [Yoann Huget] might have caught it.”

          https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all-blacks/98802613/steve-hansen-on-underfire-sonny-bill-williams-he-doesnt-know-the-rules

          • November 12th 2017 @ 4:57pm
            Dan54 said | November 12th 2017 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

            Fionn what kind of an International coach is bloody Shag Hansen? He defending refs , christ no woneder he can only coach the All blacks, would never get the Wallabies with that attitude!!

          • November 12th 2017 @ 5:26pm
            Jacko said | November 12th 2017 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

            What would be the headline if Hansen said…”BS ruling, totally wrong” Hansen playing the coach game….He didnt even say anything after the Lions 2nd test fiasco so hardly likely to say anything when his side won by 20. He is always doing the diplomatic thing and has never had a go at refs, no matter how bad the decisions are

            • November 12th 2017 @ 5:32pm
              Fionn said | November 12th 2017 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

              Jacko, how can you possibly claim the decision is ‘bad’ when that that is the rule? You can argue the rules should be changed but the referee (rather like a Judge in our legal system) has to apply the law, not apply what he or she thinks is the right thing to do.

              • November 12th 2017 @ 6:06pm
                Jacko said | November 12th 2017 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

                Well the rule says a penalty try can be awarded if it is from “Foul” play…..The laws also refer to “Infringements” which a penalty try is not awarded for. So you are saying a deliberate knock out from ingoal is foul play not an infringement? Any law reference there????? as its a struggle to find a definitive answer as the commentators were in total disagreeance. And they were not NZ or French

                And surely if that is foul play then wacking Reid across the head is foul play????

              • November 12th 2017 @ 6:18pm
                Fionn said | November 12th 2017 @ 6:18pm | ! Report

                You’ll have to take that up with the IRB, Jacko, but as with the legal system here rules are clarified and the refs are basically told how to apply them and what they mean. It was interesting that at first Gardner didn’t want to award a penalty try as he thought SBW would have caught it, I wonder what made him realise the other was the correct ruling?

                As to the Kieran Read incident that is neither here nor there. I didn’t notice it at the time but I was pretty tired by that point and if it occurred then it still isn’t relevant. Clearly the referee and TMO saw the incident differently to some of the Kiwi fans. Even if Gardner was wrong on that one it doesn’t have any bearing on the SBW decision.

              • November 12th 2017 @ 6:20pm
                Cuw said | November 12th 2017 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

                it seemed to me he was like out of depth and the england touchie was running the show a lot.

                i cant remember his name but i have seen him in Aviva , and he is very much in the Barnes mould.

                gardener let go 3 dangeros plays.

                1. hit on the face of read by the french hooker.

                2. hit on a frenchie by Tungafasi at a ruck

                3. hit on ALB by Basta after the whistle.

                it was as if Gardener did not get the memo from WR about player safety , head contact, dangeros play , what not !!!

              • November 12th 2017 @ 6:26pm
                Fionn said | November 12th 2017 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

                It would be nice if World Rugby came out and clarified the rules after incidents like this.

                Just like with the 3rd Lions Test ‘accidental offside’ decision it has left everyone fuming or a bit confused. I’d say 75% of the time for what happened at the end of the Lions series the referee awards a penalty, but there is a minority of the time when they do what Poite did and awards an attacking scrum due to accidental offside. It is so confusing.

              • November 12th 2017 @ 6:32pm
                Fionn said | November 12th 2017 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

                Yeah, Cuw, there aren’t many referees that I am happy to play under. And most of them that I am happy with seem to be South Africans.

              • November 12th 2017 @ 6:36pm
                Cuw said | November 12th 2017 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

                it is at times like this ( and Lions test) i wonder what would have Nigel Owens done ?? 🙂

              • November 12th 2017 @ 7:04pm
                Taylorman said | November 12th 2017 @ 7:04pm | ! Report

                Well they should change the rule to match League simply because for one, its a safer rule…taking the ball and grounding it is more likely to end in injury than pushing it out, and, it makes it consistent for the higher number of players moving from League.

                Not saying we should copy Leagues rules, more apply common sense.

              • November 12th 2017 @ 7:29pm
                Jacko said | November 12th 2017 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

                When the French half took the quick tap, Gardeners excuse for not allowing the tackle and play on was…”I was still standing there”
                So quick taps arnt allowed in the rules anymore? Refs are ALWAYS still standing there if a half takes a quick tap……and gardener has allowed many of these in SR

              • November 12th 2017 @ 7:45pm
                Cuw said | November 12th 2017 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

                no i disagree.Jacko

                Belleau did not take a quick tap – he just kicked the ball into his hands , not really thinking the ball is live.

                i am sure he did not intend to take a quick tap and run , first coz it was a penalty ( and not a free kick) and secondly noone around him were interested even slightly at running the ball 🙂

                it was a sort of blank-mind mistake ; a mistake a young guy will make and i will excuse him. he will learn that test rugger is not touch in the park 🙂

                however Gardner’s retort was silly – coz i am yet to see any fly half who kicks from the mark of the ref. they always easily take two steps forwards and at times sideways as well.

                in the Wales match i think Biggar took a kick from behind the mark – as soon as the whistle went and there was noone back for auzzy ( lae in the game).

                he shud have made a joke or something and diffused the situation – which am sure someone like Owens or Peyper would have done.

                for some reason he seemed stiff – maybe the cold weather was affecting him.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 7:42am
                In brief said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:42am | ! Report

                There’s no way it was a penalty try as huget had no play on the ball. If SBW didn’t punch it he would have caught it. If he didn’t catch it the ball probably would have hit him on the head. Forget about invisibility cloaks, under no realistic scenario would Huget have caught it. If the rules state that was a penalty try the rules need changing.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 5:19pm
                ClarkeG said | November 13th 2017 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

                Cuw …none of that matters. He kicked the ball…it should have been play on once that happened.

                Agree however that the refs attempt to explain it away was lame. So a penalty kick can never be taken whilst the referee is on the mark …yeah right.

                Also agree that the penalty kicks are being taken well ahead of the marks. I also wonder how many conversions are taken in line with where the tries are scored. One upon a time the referee used to mark the try and walk in a direct line to give the kicker his line. That does not occur any more.

          • November 12th 2017 @ 5:32pm
            Cuw said | November 12th 2017 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

            @ Fionn

            well if that is the case , then i am pretty sure whoever reffed the first game auzzy Taqele Naiyaravoro played in union for Waratahs , ALSO DID NOT KNOW.

            becoz he did the same thing – slapping the ball behind the dead ball line , league style – and it was just a penalty.

            i still remember how Folau was telling him not to do that but just ground the ball, with and signals and all.

            • November 12th 2017 @ 5:52pm
              Fionn said | November 12th 2017 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

              Yeah, but as we well know inconsistency in refereeing is nothing knew. Clearly Gardner and the TMO in this match knew the rules better than in the Waratahs match.

              • November 12th 2017 @ 6:06pm
                Cuw said | November 12th 2017 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

                inconsistency and ignorance are two different things.

                in this case it was the TMO who knew the LAWS , becoz gardener was happy to give the yellow and end it.

                it was the TMO who explained the “Invisible Man clause ” 😀

                maybe some expert in Laws can put it out on this site , so all can know of it.

                there are some obscure laws in rugger only very few know of.

                i think there was one case in Aviva where a try was scored from outside the dead ball line. it is also allowed – though i cannot recall the exact circumstances or the ruling.

              • November 12th 2017 @ 6:09pm
                Jacko said | November 12th 2017 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

                Clearly they did not know the ” hit someone in the head” rules?

            • November 12th 2017 @ 8:11pm
              soapit said | November 12th 2017 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

              folau knows because he got a yellow card for it once pretty sure. cant remember if it was a pt or not.

        • November 12th 2017 @ 5:34pm
          Mike Julz said | November 12th 2017 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

          It was a wrong call, it should’ve been an in goal drop out from under the post, according to SBW…

          • November 13th 2017 @ 9:41pm
            In brief said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:41pm | ! Report

            Snooze

    • November 12th 2017 @ 4:32pm
      moaman said | November 12th 2017 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

      Cuw
      I agree with your last point.
      Williams could easily have caught that ball…he just didn’t see the need!

      I was thinking at halftime that reports of the death of the {NZ} patient have been premature…..by fulltime I had to revise my opinion.The cadaver is beginning to reek…..

      • November 12th 2017 @ 5:34pm
        Cuw said | November 12th 2017 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

        am curios why he did it – after being in union for so long.

        is it like those times he just goes with a closed shoulder??

        • Roar Rookie

          November 13th 2017 @ 12:37pm
          piru said | November 13th 2017 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

          CUW –

          It really doesn’t come up that often, does it?
          Do you reckon everyone at home knew the law before this happened?

          He either

          – thought it was allowed or,
          – knew it wasn’t and decided to do it anyway or,
          – wasn’t sure and decided to take a punt

          • November 13th 2017 @ 12:52pm
            Jerry said | November 13th 2017 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

            No, but the reason it doesn’t come up is that mostly people know better than to try it.

            I can only recall it happening a few times.

            1 – Rico Gear passed a ball over the sideline at the end of a match. Time was up and NZ were well ahead.

            2 – Dan Carter did it vs England in 05 (I think). Was in the in-goal, got a pen but no PT cause there were other defenders there.

            3 – An Irish player did it and got a PT against him. Richie McCaw was diving on the ball and the other player reached in front and slapped it away.

            • Roar Rookie

              November 13th 2017 @ 1:24pm
              piru said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

              Yes, so given that most people know it and few people ever do it, it’s reasonable to think someone new might not be aware.

              It’s been blown out of proportion in my opinion.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 3:15pm
                Cuw said | November 13th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

                as i said above saw Taqele Naiyaravoro do it in his first match for Waratahs. got a card but no PT

                but for me it is the first time to see a PT awarded and then to read about this ” Invisible Man Law”.

                more concerning is that neither Gardener nor Hansen did not know of the “Invisible Man Law”.

                me not knowing is passable but a ref and a coach is supposed to know such.

                this is the biggest problem with rugger – too many laws and too many obscure Laws !!!!

              • November 13th 2017 @ 6:41pm
                Jacko said | November 13th 2017 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

                And to many different interpretations of the same laws

      • November 13th 2017 @ 12:17pm
        zhenry said | November 13th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        Are you a naturalized AU, Moaman? A cadaver? Typical NZ negative. What you’d expect getting your info from the AU media for so long.
        However AB coaches need to stop letting the ABs off the hook. What are they saying at half time, watching a Sound of Music video, coming out for the second half with Julie Andrews ‘the hills are alive…F…..
        Get them in a circle and focus on ‘no more penalties, get it, no more penalties, keep the focus all way thru second half, no more penalties. It goes right back to last RWC (and further) with ‘close game’ against SA, all AB points were tries, all SA points were penalties?
        The refs have been hyped up by Fairfax and MReason – ABs are by far the most filthy side in world rugby, and so on.

        Another thing, one way to put ABs off their game is to engage in niggle, they fall for it every time.
        Before each game, focus, play the ball, got it, play the ball.
        During game and momentum swing, Captain form huddle, deep breaths, focus, no more penalties, no more niggle, get it. Also
        Soppagna needs game time, as Cruden did.

        So many good players, more alternate games.

    • November 12th 2017 @ 7:09pm
      Jacko said | November 12th 2017 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

      I’d love to knoow what went on in the Refs room at half time…There was a very deliberate change in the way the game was reffed in the first half and there was a definate attempt to make it hard for the ABs. Why was the French guy allowed to take the free kick again…If you look at it any way you like he took the tap……The French winger possably may have caught the ball when SBW knocked it back but even if he did then he still had to get it to ground which, with a metre to go and at full speed would have needed a miricle. Read was sick of it and was getting angry and frustrated with the constant terrible reffing and I dont believe he had a groin strain at all. I believe if he had been left on the field he could easily have said something he regretted later so Hansen took him off. The hit to the head he received that ALL THREE refs couldnt see but the commentators saw it, was probably the last straw for Read and he was seeing RED.

      Angus Gardener was way out of his depth and proved he just isnt up to international standard…and with players having to tell him the rules at SR level he probably isnt up to SR standard either.
      Angus Gardener states on4 occasions to the Assistant and the captains that he does not believe a probable try would have been scored yet he is talked into it. Just BS BIAS BS

      • November 12th 2017 @ 8:49pm
        Daveski said | November 12th 2017 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

        Jacko, give it a rest hey ?

        • November 13th 2017 @ 9:32am
          Jacko said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

          What is this Davski….Dont mention the War????? How do you talk about that match without the ref being a major part of the talking? Just ignore the BS? Just talk about a small % of the match?

          • November 13th 2017 @ 11:42am
            Bob said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:42am | ! Report

            Yeah give it up bro, yous sound like a soccer fan

    • November 12th 2017 @ 11:11pm
      Lara said | November 12th 2017 @ 11:11pm | ! Report

      The ABs tend to close up shop when they lead by large margins which always dangerous when the opposition has nothing to lose. They still won by a healthy margin, but this tendency of going to sleep or just going through the motions is a coaches and supporters nightmare. Hansen needs to kick their butts and get the killers instinct back, go for the throat and finish it. As for SBW give him a rule book and make him study the bloody thing…damn schoolboy error.

      • November 13th 2017 @ 12:44am
        Londoner said | November 13th 2017 @ 12:44am | ! Report

        SBW a very effective player but will always be one to pick up bookings.

        Mckenzie looks great attacking but defensively they miss Smith. Still at times, NZ when they move the ball look more like a League outfit in their fluency. Only Oz can match them on this in union. Looking ahead to the world cup, it’s Oz and NZ to be the winners.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 6:29pm
          Jacko said | November 14th 2017 @ 6:29pm | ! Report

          But there is no fluency in league…one out run x 5 then kick

      • November 13th 2017 @ 10:53am
        Dontcallmeshirley said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

        Angus Gardner is a good ref. However there is no doubt he had a bad game.

    • November 13th 2017 @ 7:27am
      mad mick said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:27am | ! Report

      Time is up for SBW. One more brain explosion. Lions series lost because he can’t help himself with his RL instincts coming to the surface. And now another brain explosion and a yellow card. What if it happens in WC final. I don’t think Hansen will be smiling then. I don’t think Foster will be saying he’s a work in progress then.

      • November 13th 2017 @ 10:54am
        Dontcallmeshirley said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        I thought he had a good game outside of that one incident.

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