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The All Blacks will want an immediate return to winning ways as they take on a dangerous France at the Stade de France, Paris. With this being the final game of the international calendar for both of these sides, it’s going to be a long off season to have to think about a depressing loss so expect to see a brutal battle. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 7:00 am (AEDT).
All Blacks’ coach Ian Foster has made seven changes with two of these as a result of injuries. The halves see a full change with Beauden Barrett replaced by Richie Mo’unga and Aaron Smith will start his 102nd test as he replaces TJ Perenara at scrum half. Also in the backs Quinn Tupaea is brought into the centres as Anton Lienert-Brown has failed to recover from a shoulder injury while Sevu Reece misses out and is replaced by George Bridge on the wing.
Upfront it will be a special game for Sam Cane as the former skipper continues his return to top flight action. The coaching team made it clear ahead of the tour that they wanted Cane to focus purely on his form and not be distracted by any of the duties of the skipper and it seems to be working as he will start in a crucial match for the All Blacks against a powerful French pack.
Akira Ioane gets a chance to start in the back row alongside Sam Cane and Dan Coles is back in at hooker.
Ian Foster was clear that his side has to respond in a big way after the loss to Ireland last weekend. “It’s a big statement game for us, and we know we have to respond,” Foster said.
French coach, Fabien Galthié will have watched closely how Ireland overcame the All Blacks last weekend but he’s also made it clear that people shouldn’t expect his side to play in the same way. “We can’t copy Ireland. We haven’t got the same players nor the same rugby as them,” Galthie said earlier this week.
After wins against Argentina and Georgia, this is by far the biggest test of France this season. They lost 1-2 in Australia earlier this year but to be fair to them, the squad they sent over was missing a large number of their top level players.
Romain Ntamack has been moved to fly half and outside him are two very powerful centres in Jonathan Danty and Gael Fickou while upfront Peato Mauvaka will start at hooker as Julien Marchand is out with a rib injury.
This match will give fans a chance to see the two best scrum halves in the world right now go head to head and that in itself will be a fascinating sub plot to the Test.
France might not be able to repeat the style of play that Ireland used but they definitely have the talent in key positions to challenge the Kiwis.
If France can play with accuracy and intensity and put some scoreboard pressure on the Kiwis then this could be a very tough day out for the All Blacks and the ghosts of Dublin might just start to whisper in their ears.
But it took a full 80 minute performance from Ireland to get over the top of the Kiwis and France just aren’t quite up to that.
All Blacks by 12.
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 07:00 am (AEDT), Sunday 21st November 2021
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: France $2.95, New Zealand $1.39 – odds via PlayUp
Referee: Wayne Barnes
15. Melvyn Jaminet, 14. Damian Penaud, 13. Gael Fickou, 12. Jonathan Danty, 11. Gabin Villiere, 10. Roman Ntamack, 9. Antoine Dupont (c), 8. Gregory Alldritt, 7. Anthony Jelonch, 6. Francois Cros, 5. Paul Willemse, 4. Cameron Woki, 3. Uini Atonio, 2. Peato Mauvaka, 1. Cyril Baille
16. Gaetan Barlot, 17. Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18. Demba Bamba, 19. Romain Taofifenua, 20. Thibaud Flament, 21. Dylan Cretin, 22. Maxime Lucu, 23. Matthieu Jalibert
15. Jordie Barrett, 14. Will Jordan, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. Quinn Tupaea, 11. George Bridge, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Ardie Savea, 7. Sam Cane, 6. Akira Ioane, 5. Sam Whitelock (c), 4. Brodie Retallick, 3. Nepo Laulala, 2. Dane Coles, 1. Joe Moody
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17. George Bower, 18. Ofa Tuungafasi, 19. Tupou Vaa’i, 20. Shannon Frizell, 21. Brad Weber, 22. Damian McKenzie, 23. David Havili