Scin­til­lat­ing back play cuts down French

He has lived and breathed Toko­roa rugby for decades. Rugby con­nois­seur David Foote dis­sects Pool A play

South Waikato News - - RUGBY WORLD CUP -

The All Blacks made a telling state­ment last Satur­day night in their pool match against old ad­ver­sary France with a re­sound­ing 27-17 win to stay at the top of pool A.

The All Blacks had to with­stand a lot of early pres­sure from France but ral­lied with a try to Cory Jane fol­lowed by two more, all scored in the space of 12 min­utes.

Richie Mc­Caw, start­ing in his 100th test ap­pear­ance for his coun­try, led by ex­am­ple.

Scin­til­lat­ing back play by the All Black backs sliced through the French de­fence seem­ingly at will, which put a great strain on their de­fence.

Dan Carter, although not man of the match, played an out­stand­ing game with his clever line breaks, un­char­ac­ter­is­tic drop goal and his pin­point kick­offs, one of which led to the last All Black try. All the French were able to achieve were points from a du­bi­ous penalty just be­fore half time, an in­ter­cept try and a try in­side the last five min­utes of the game from a quick tap kick while the All Blacks were dis­tracted by the ref­eree.

By then the game France had long gone.

Our Richard Kahui still turned in an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance be­fore limp­ing off in the sec­ond half.

The other game in pool A was a lit­tle bit of an an­ti­cli­max, with Tonga ac­count­ing for Ja­pan with ease, at

for Whangarei. The Ja­panese were never in the con­test, with the strength of the Ton­gan for­wards prom­i­nent in the scrums and li­ne­outs. Tonga win­ning by 31-18.

The pick of this com­ing week in Pool A will be the in­ter­est­ing clash be­tween Ja­pan and Canada, which was played at Napier last night.

Then the Cana­di­ans are sched­uled to play the All Blacks in Welling­ton this Sun­day.

The point of in­ter­est in this game will be Mills Mu­li­aina play­ing his 99th test for his coun­try.

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