Planet Rugby

All Blacks complete French clean sweep

22nd June 2013 10:27

Share:

Ben Smith of the All Blacks scores a try despite the tackle of Brice Dulin of France

Timely score: Ben Smith

The All Blacks completed a 3-0 series victory over France on Saturday with a 24-9 win at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.

The result is New Zealand's seventh consecutive win over the French, who were once again held try-less, but the result hung in the balance right up to the dying minutes.

New Zeland led 8-6 at the end of an entertaining first-half thanks to a try from wing Ben Smith, but there was very little to choose between the sides.

Indeed, the fired-up Bleus put in a much-improved display in all areas on last week's disaster - especially at the set piece and in their kicking out of hand - and regularly breached the All Blacks' defensive line.

But the hosts would strike at crucial times with Smith's try coming just before the break before Beauden Barrett scored in the last minute to give the scoreline a flattering appearance.

The hosts were given an early let off when referee Nigel Owens harshly called France back for being offside after a clever chip over the top had the Kiwi defence scrambling behind their tryline.

The French would nevertheless take a deserved early led as centre Florian Fritz slotted a drop goal to ensure the visitors were given some reward for a period of sustained pressure.

Dan Carter leveled the scores with a penalty on the 15-minute mark after Yoann Maestri was pinged for a side entry after an attacking line-out for New Zealand.

Carter hit the upright with his next effort before Jean-Marc Doussain sent his first attempt wide to leave the scores locked at 3-all after half-an-hour.

The visitors would have felt they had enjoyed the upper hand in the first half but - as has become a pattern in this series - the All Blacks scored just before half time, with some help from the TMO, as Israel Dagg set up Ben Smith to dive into the corner.

Carter's conversion attempt went wide but Doussain bounced a penalty in off the post to leave the gap at just two points at the interval.

France moved back in front early in the second half after Sam Cane caught Doussain high and the scrum-half again got his kick over off the upright. Carter replied almost immediately to restore the home side's advantage but missed his next shot a goal.

At 11-9 with 25 minutes to play, it was anyone's game.

The second-half ruck penalty count started to add up against France though and Carter slotted a wonderful kick from the touchline to put New Zealand 14-9 up heading into the final quarter.

A reckless head-first dive into a ruck from Maestri, who copped a yellow card, would essentially seal the win for the hosts as Carter slotted his fourth penalty to extend the gap to eight points and les Bleus finished with 14 men.

Barrett rounded off the win with a long-range try as he chased down wing Smith's kick ahead to sink a nail into France's coffin.

Man of the Match A mention for rookie French pivot Remi Talès, who gave France a new attacking dimension but the standout performnace came from Luke Romano who carried like a machine and tackled tirelessly.

Moment of the match: No doubt about this one, Ben Smith's try turned the tide in New Zealand's favour.

Villian of the match: If you're French, it must be Yoann Maestri, whose brain fade killed off France's chances when they were still in with a sniff.

The scorers:

For New Zealand:
Tries: B. Smith, Barrett
Con: Carter
Pens: Carter 4

For France:
Pens: Doussain 2
Drop goal: Fritz
Yellow card: Maestri (72nd min - foul play)

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Charles Piutau.

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Marc Andreu, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Remi Talès, 9 Jean-Marc Doussain, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Damien Chouly, 6 Theirry Dusautoir, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Luc Ducalcon, 19 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20 Bernard Le Roux, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud.

Venue: Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs SaleExeter vs Sale Preview
Bath vs WorcesterBath vs Worcester Preview
Wasps vs GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Preview
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Connacht vs MunsterConnacht vs Munster Preview
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Preview
Waratahs vs BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Preview
Sharks vs CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Preview
Stormers vs LionsStormers vs Lions Preview
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers2064
4Bath1959
5Harlequins2058