New Zealand coach Steve Hansen conceded that France put his team under pressure, despite winning 24-9 to clinch the series 3-0.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen conceded that France put his team under pressure, despite winning 24-9 and clinching a series whitewash.
Tries from Ben Smith and Beauden Barrett wrapped up a 3-0 series win for the All Blacks in New Plymouth, but France were much improved from the side that received a 30-0 drubbing in Christchurch a week before.
Fielding a side with returning experienced internationals including Andrew Hore and Dan Carter, the All Blacks had to work hard for their win and kicked on in the final quarter much to Hansen's delight.
“We don't want any mistakes but the opposition have got something to do with it too. They played their best match,” said Hansen.
“They turned up and they had a reasonably smart game plan and they implemented it well and put us under pressure.
“We probably didn't get them in the fashion you'd like to get them with a big flash scoreboard saying that we won the game and won it easy.
“But what we got was a genuine contest and it was a battle of wills and we saw ourselves get through that.
“The pleasing part of our game was the last 20 minutes where we started to really come forward and dominate with our defence and start to get some territory. The poorest part of that game was our ball maintenance.”