All Blacks wary of his­tory les­son

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

rub­ber. Such games can be lame ducks, but Hansen has ap­proved enough changes to en­sure the arm­chair crit­ics had best be loaded up with buck­ets of pop­corn. Be­cause there will be plenty to dis­cuss.

There should be ap­pre­hen­sion and a fris­son of ex­cite­ment among the All Blacks. This is new ter­ri­tory with Damian McKen­zie in the main di­rec­tor’s chair, a fresh mid­field in Sonny Bill Wil­liams and Jack Good­hue, and Shan­non Frizell earn­ing his first cap at No 6.

French coach Jac­ques Brunel has made two changes, both to the mid­field. Cap­tain and cen­tre Mathieu Bastareaud has been re­placed by Wes­ley Fo­fana, who will start along­side Remi Lam­erat. Half­back Mor­gan Parra takes over as skip­per.

This in­di­cates France will want to play with speed and ac­cu­racy.

‘‘It’s in­ter­est­ing – they have not picked the cap­tain,’’ was Hansen’s re­ac­tion. ‘‘But they have ob­vi­ously got a plan there. The two guys they have put in the mid­field aren’t bad, though.

‘‘They are world-class play­ers. They will be quicker. I wouldn’t say they are bet­ter rugby play­ers but they played a dif­fer­ent style of rugby than he [Bastareaud] does, which would prob­a­bly in­di­cate they want to run the ball a bit.’’

France play­ers cel­e­brate their fa­mous win over the All Blacks the last time the teams met in Dunedin, in 2009.

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