Mat talks

The Northland Age - - Age Sport -

THE All Blacks’ first test match against the French ended up a farce. Here we had an in­ter­na­tional side who were the best de­fen­sive team in the North­ern Hemi­sphere thumped 52-11.

For­get the yel­low card on a French player in the first half. This made lit­tle dif­fer­ence in the sec­ond where New Zealand ran riot scor­ing five tries. Yes, the All Blacks should had a cou­ple in the sin bin for sup­pos­edly high tack­les but the video ref dis­agreed. You have to ad­mire the young English ref­eree who took the con­ser­va­tive ap­proach with a penalty even if it was wrong. The re­al­ity is, France — like Eng­land and Ire­land who also lost — haven’t got the goods. The French flair is dead. That flair is now com­ing rom the All Blacks with skill and tal­ent off the bench. Just look what Damian McKen­zie did when he came on. He alone em­bar­rassed the French back­line. Coach Steve Hansen at this very mo­ment has play­ers to burn which North­ern Hemi­sphere teams dream of.

His only worry is util­ity back Ben Smith who has suf­fered a num­ber of head blows; lack­ing in con­fi­dence and not a winger but good enough to re­main in his cus­tom­ary full­back po­si­tion. Jordie Bar­rett is not up to it. So, what is go­ing to hap­pen in Wellington on Satur­day? Very lit­tle. France will tighten up but an­other

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