All Blacks thrash France 52-11

Oliver Matthews Roar Guru

By Oliver Matthews, Oliver Matthews is a Roar Guru

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    The All Blacks have beaten the French at Eden Park 52-11 to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series in a game that really was sadly too strongly impacted by a few key refereeing decisions.

    Ahead of the game there was lots of talk about how the French would be able to compete with so many injuries to key players but they really stood up in the first half of the match.

    They took their opportunities with both boot and in hand including a sneaky try when Remy Grosso was able to intercept a pass from Ben Smith and run in unopposed from 20 metres out.

    The men in blue really did a good job of disrupting the All Blacks rhythm and their defence was not easy to break down.

    This combination meant that they got out to an early lead and held that lead into half time.

    The All Blacks looked like a team that was patient to a certain degree but that was also beginning to get a bit frustrated at the lack of crispness and penetration in their attack.

    There were a few too many errors by the home side and that would have annoyed Steve Hansen. He would have been happy though with the way that the three Barrett brothers contributed to the All Blacks only try of the first half – Scott Barrett made a nice burst through a couple of tacklers and was able to offload to Jordie who sprinted away.

    The ball was quickly recycled and Beauden made a lovely sweeping move around the back of the ruck to take the final pass and score in the corner.

    It was a reminder of how quickly the All Blacks can pounce but the fact that they only did this once in the first half highlights how strong the Blues had been in defence.

    They really made it hard for the home side to get any off loads out of the tackle and so made it hard for the Kiwis to get in behind the defence.

    The game was perfectly poised for the second half. The All Blacks started to put the French under real pressure in the first ten minutes and the visitors had to defend for a long period of time.

    But defend they did and the score remained 8-11 for the French up until the 52nd minute. Unfortunately, this is where things changed.

    The ref had been doing a very good job up until this point – he’d controlled the sides well and had already penalised Aaron Smith for one suggestion too many.

    But in the 51st minute he made a rash decision to sin bin Paul Gabrillagues for a high tackle without asking for some TMO support.

    Refs are often criticised for referring too many decisions to the TMO but in this instance it was critical that the technology available was used.

    Instead the ref made an immediate decision and while the French lock jogged off the replays were showing that the tackle really only deserved a penalty at most.

    The All Blacks hadn’t been able to get their rhythm going against 15 men but against 14 men they moved up through the gears quickly and were flying.

    During the 10 minutes sin bin they scored twice and that broke the French hearts. After that they ran in another four tries which blew the score out.

    Many of these were very nice tries including some great counter-attacking examples that saw players like Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty, Damian McKenzie and Ngani Laumape show off their pace and ability to hold off defenders in close quarters.

    The All Blacks confidence was up and they did a very good job of keeping the ball and making the French defend a huge amount in the final 30 minutes.

    When the French did have the ball they tried hard but lacked any real creativity and while players like Mathieu Bastareaud and Teddy Thomas are real weapons, they needed some space and support to pose a real threat.

    The French will be frustrated not just at their yellow card but at the fact that when Sam Cane put in his own high tackle in the second half the referee still didn’t check the replays and this time only gave a penalty to the visitors.

    If the French deserved a yellow card then the All Blacks definitely did and this inconsistency is very annoying.

    Despite the result the French can look to game two with some hope. For 50 minutes they were going toe to toe with the best in the world.

    Thomas looked dangerous at times and his pace is just incredible – if they can get him some more ball in space in game two then he will scare any defender.

    The French will need their No.9 and No.10 to do a better job though. They weren’t bad in this game and it’s always hard when you don’t have the ball or are going backwards, but the French side need their halves to control the game and get their forwards running onto the ball.

    Parra’s inability to kick off his wrong foot is an issue and caused some trouble for the French when they tried to clear from their own 22.

    The clearances were leading to All Black line outs on the 22 and just heaped more and more pressure on the visitors. They need a bigger boot to help them get out of defence.

    For the home side there were some good performances. Codie Taylor played well and seemed to be involved in both scoring and assisting in tries in the second half.

    Liam Squire had a quiet first half but was impressive in the second, stealing lineouts and running hard with the ball.

    Super subs McKenzie and Ngani Laumape impressed with their pace and ability to run nice lines (although McKenzie really should have passed as he looked to score his second try of the night!) and Hansen will be happy that his bench was able to have a real impact on the game.

    If you just saw the scoreline you would assume that this was a very one-sided game and that the whole series is already decided.

    But the devil is in the detail and the French need to remind themselves of the first 50 minutes as they prepare for Game two next weekend.

    Yes, the All Blacks are strong favourites but the French showed that they can ruffle a few Kiwi feathers.

    Final score
    New Zealand 52
    France 11

    New South Wales have won the 2018 State of Origin series with an 18-14 win in an absolutely outstanding Game 2 at ANZ Stadium. See how the action unfolded with our NSW vs QLD Origin 2 scores, highlights and blog.

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    The Crowd Says (127)

    • June 9th 2018 @ 10:07pm
      System of a Downey Jr said | June 9th 2018 @ 10:07pm | ! Report

      I think the ABs clearly had the ascendancy for the last ten minutes of the first half. And the French were really hanging on before that yellow card. While they had plenty of answers on defence the French were pretty clueless on attack.

      For the ABs the Saders trio of Scott Barrett, Codie Taylor and Ryan Crotty all had excellent games. Luke Whitelock played solid and was good in the lineout and in defence – even if the ABs really miss that injection that Read brings in that position. Mackenzie and Laumape were as devastating as everyone expected and the ABs bench with that firepower will tear apart flagging defences.

      I think the French will be better in the next two games – but while everyone has talked about how great their defence was in the six nations – they need to find some game plan on attack.

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      June 9th 2018 @ 10:18pm
      KiwiHaydn said | June 9th 2018 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

      Yes the Yellow Card was debatable, but other than a fortuitous intercept try right at the start, France were comprehensively beaten on the scoreboard. It’s an 80 minute game, some calls go your way others don’t. Pretty happy with that first up by the ABs. On to game two.

      • June 11th 2018 @ 1:12pm
        Hoofhearted said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

        I find it bemusing, but then to be fair the journo of this article is not the only one to single out. The article, in general, is overly critical of the All Blacks performance, which for a first hit-up, was very solid, and as a team with continue to improve. But you have to wonder.. If it had been Australia beating France by that margin, in similar circumstances the article would probably read very differently

    • June 9th 2018 @ 10:39pm
      DanFan said | June 9th 2018 @ 10:39pm | ! Report

      I watched the game in a bar in France and there were no complaints about the yellow card. But the punters started slipping away as soon as the ABs went into the lead. I guess they knew what was coming.

    • June 9th 2018 @ 11:38pm
      Wardad said | June 9th 2018 @ 11:38pm | ! Report

      Well then France will do well in the 51 minute version of the game then.

    • June 10th 2018 @ 12:16am
      Rugby fan In WA said | June 10th 2018 @ 12:16am | ! Report

      I agree with the referees needing to be consistent. The Lions series last year was farce with inconsistent rulings and ruined the series. It seemed the French defended well for the first 50 mins but it felt like they were just hanging on. NZ were forced to work hard to get comfortable but once they did the flood gates opened.

    • June 10th 2018 @ 12:16am
      Rugby fan In WA said | June 10th 2018 @ 12:16am | ! Report

      I agree with the referees needing to be consistent. The Lions series last year was farce with inconsistent rulings and ruined the series. It seemed the French defended well for the first 50 mins but it felt like they were just hanging on. NZ were forced to work hard to get comfortable but once they did the flood gates opened.

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