All Black win lays foundation for future
LYON: The All Blacks defeated a rugged French selection 2823 in Lyon yesterday and laid the foundation for future success in the process, according to coach Steve Hansen.
A hugely inexperienced New Zealand team trailed 1514 at halftime in a physical contest before gaining some control soon after the break.
Hansen was delighted his team held its nerve as the final quarter descended into a testy affair and the French scored to close the margin while debut centre Jack Goodhue was in the sin bin for taking out a support runner.
Hansen wanted to assess his next wave of talent in an international cauldron and got the acid test he wanted from a committed home team.
That a New Zealand side featuring nine uncapped players and boasting just 150 caps among them clung on could only be positive for the future, he said.
‘‘Everyone put their hand up. You can go right through the group and I think everybody did what we asked them to do and enhanced their reputations,’’ Hansen said.
‘‘The confidence that will give some of those guys, you can’t buy.
‘‘Some of these guys may not get their opportunity until after 2019.’’
Among New Zealand’s best was halfback Tawera KerrBarlow, in possibly his last game before taking up a French club contract.
Hansen said the nuggety Chiefs No 9 would be missed.
‘‘He’s been in outstanding form most of his All Blacks career, I reckon.
‘‘Do we want him to leave? No. But he’s made that decision so then we’ve got to decide what we do.’’
Burly flanker Liam Squire shook off the effects of a virus which ruled him out Sunday’s 3818 test win over France in Paris and unleashed a muscular display to prove he is ready to face Scotland in Edinburgh this weekend.
‘‘I thought he was really physical and punishing with his defence,’’ Hansen said.
The All Blacks’ firsthalf tries were fine team efforts, both converted from the sideline by first fiveeighth Lima Sopoaga.
Squire crossed in the left corner in the 11th minute and Matt Duffie in the right in the 24th, the first All Black try for the former Melbourne Storm winger.
Both times, France responded with a try to winger Gabriel Lacroix, the second a 70m intercept effort following a long, loose pass from Ngani Laumape.
Playing with more precision in the third quarter, the visiting side created closerange tries to lock Patrick Tuipulotu and Laumape to power 2815 ahead.
The 14man All Blacks could not stop centre Henry Chavancy crossing but were able to hold out the passionate home team over the final seven minutes. — NZN
Matt finish . . . All Black wing Matt Duffie scores his side’s second try against a French XV in Lyon yesterday.