All Blacks top France to end year on high note

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

WORLD player of the year Beau­den Bar­rett helped stretch New Zealand’s win­ning streak over France to 10 games with a hard-fought but ul­ti­mately com­fort­able 24-19 vic­tory on Novem­ber 26.

The vic­tory rounded off an in­cred­i­ble year for the All Blacks, the team hav­ing notched up 13 wins in 14 matches as well as tak­ing the Rugby Cham­pi­onship ti­tle with two rounds to play, and also equalling the record un­beaten streak of 18 games, started in 2015.

The sole hic­cup came at Ir­ish hands in Chicago when they went down 40-29.

“It was a very tough game. I’m proud of my men for stick­ing it out for the win,” said New Zealand skip­per Kieran Read.

“When we started at the start of year if you’d said we fin­ish with one loss we’d be happy.

“It’s been a fan­tas­tic year to be part of.”

Hav­ing avenged their de­feat by Ire­land with a 21-9 re­turn win in Dublin last week, it was also back to business at a packed Stade de France.

The last time these two teams met, it was em­barass­ing, with France go­ing down 62-13 in the quar­ter-fi­nals of last year’s Rugby World Cup.

But the vis­i­tors were made to work for vic­tory this time, Bar­rett scor­ing an in­ter­cept try and con­vert­ing that and two other tries by Is­rael Dagg and Char­lie Fau­muina, as well as boot­ing one penalty.

‘When we started at the start of the year, if you’d said we’d fin­ish with one loss we’d be happy.’

Kieran Read New Zealand skip­per

France’s points came from a Louis Pi­camoles try, con­verted by Bap­tiste Serin, whose two penal­ties matched those of Maxime Machenaud.

“It’s en­cour­ag­ing,” said France skip­per Guil­hem Guirado.

“But to lose two games like that [also a 25-23 de­feat by Aus­tralia] is a bit tough. We’d like to kick on with some vic­to­ries. It’s very dis­ap­point­ing.” –

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