Planet Rugby

France push All Blacks close

08th June 2013 10:17

Share:

Ben Simth All Blacks break first test New Zealand France 2013

Created a try: Ben Smith

Once again New Zealand were made to work very hard to get the better of France at Eden Park, winning 23-13 in an entertaining clash on Saturday.

In the first game between these sides since the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final at the same venue, the All Blacks outscored their visitors two tries to one but were pushed all the way by a French side showing a marked improvement on their woeful Six Nations campaign.

New Zealand led 17-10 at the interval thanks to tries from Aaron Smith and Sam Cane after France had taken the early lead via a Wesley Fofana score.

There was very little to choose between the old rivals but a series of scrum penalties against France proved influential as they killed off a number of promising attacking opportunities for Philippe Saint-André's men.

The result sees the All Blacks take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series but with the tourists set to be reinforced by players who took part in the recent Top 14 Final, the next fortnight promises to be intriguing.

France drew first blood when Florian Fritz sliced through in midfield and offloaded to his centre partner Fofana, who raced home.

Maxime Machenaud added the extras and the visitors held a 7-0 advantage until the end of the opening quarter when Aaron Cruden landed his first penalty.

The All Blacks scored their first try on the half-hour mark after Ben Smith burst clear before finding his namesake Aaron up in support.

Cruden's conversion put New Zealand in front but Machenaud replied to level the scores with half time looming large.

Ma'a Nonu ensured that the hosts would head into the tunnel in the lead however as he beat Camille Lopez to set up a try for Cane with skipper Kieran Read proving the link.

Cruden's conversion was the final act of an evenly-contested and entertaining first half.

With Machenaud off injured, Lopez took over the French kicking duties and narrowed the deficit early in the second period.

Referee Wayne Barnes was the centre of controversy before kick-off as the French management and press found it highly irregular that the Englishman was staying at the same hotel as the hosts and Bleus skipper Thierry Dusautoir was fuming when the visitors scrum was penalised while camped on the Kiwi tryline.

Cruden restored the seven-point gap on the hour mark before the All Blacks were given a massive let off when Louis Picamoles knocked-on in front of an open tryline.

The pattern of missed chances - from both sides - continued until the final hooter with Cruden's third penalty securing the win.

Man of the match: A tough call to make. Louis Picamoles, Florian Fritz and Adrien Plante all did well for France while Ma'a Nonu made a welcome return to form in the black 12 jersey. But we'll go for Ben Smith, who not only created New Zealand's first try, but was rock solid at the back as the French looked to get the ball behind the Kiwi pack.

Moment of the match: The difference between the sides proved to be Sam Cane's try on the stroke of half time after Nonu beat Dusautoir.

Villain of the match: The scrums were a mess, but no nasty stuff to report.

The scorers:

For New Zealand:
Tries: A. Smith, Cane
Cons: Cruden 2
Pens: Cruden 3

For France:
Try: Fofana
Con: Machenaud
Pens: Machenaud, Lopez

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ben Afeaki, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Victor Vito, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Rene Ranger.

France: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Adrien Plante, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Maxime Medard, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Akexandre Flanquart, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Maxime Mermoz.

Venue: Eden Park, Aukland
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Preview
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26