France beaten by fly­ing All Blacks

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - Rugbyunion sport -

NEW Zealand coach Gra­ham Henry de­clared his sat­is­fac­tion af­ter the All Blacks ne­go­ti­ated a po­ten­tially fraught World Cup clash against France with fly­ing colours.

Is­rael Dagg crossed twice while Adam Thomp­son, Cory Jane and Sonny Bill Wil­liams also breached the white­wash in a 37-17 vic­tory against their main ri­vals in Pool A.

“It was a very pleas­ing per­for­mance. There were some good tries,” said Henry.

“We fin­ished pretty well at times and put some good things to­gether.

“It’s good to have a de­cent hit out against some de­cent op­po­si­tion.

“We were about an eight out of 10, but we have a way to go yet.

“It was a step up in op­po­si­tion, a step up in in­ten­sity and, for most of the game, we played pretty well.”

Adding to the sense of oc­ca­sion at Eden Park was that cap­tain Richie Mc­Caw be­came the first All Black Test cen­tu­rion.

“It’s just great to see Richie play his 100th game in a big match. He’s de­lighted and so he should be,” said Henry.

“In the All Blacks’ Tests that I have been in­volved in over the last eight years, there’s no doubt that he’s num­ber one.

“He’s in­spi­ra­tional, leads by ex­am­ple and is world-class player.

“He’s been the num­ber one player in the world three times and you can’t do much bet­ter than that.”

Mc­Caw was pleased by the ruth­less streak New Zealand showed at Eden Park dur­ing a match the All Blacks dom­i­nated ex­cept for a 20-minute spell in the sec­ond half.

“We re­alised we had to take a step up this week,” said Mc­Caw.

“We had to ab­sorb a fair bit early on and I was proud of the way the boys did that.

“When we got the op­por­tu­nity, we put the points on the board. You need to be clin­i­cal when you get the op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“The boys held their cool and when we had a chance we took it. We’re very happy with the way things went.

“We have a fair way to go yet in the World Cup, but I’m look­ing for­ward to the next four or five weeks. Hope­fully we can do some­thing spe­cial.”

France cap­tain Thierry Dusautoir made no at­tempt to ex­cuse Les Bleus’ fail­ings.

Maxime Mer­moz and Fran­cois Trinh-Duc ran in tries for France, but it was a dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance from Marc Lievre­mont’s side.

“We made too many mis­takes. We came back at the end of the sec­ond half,” said Dusautoir.

“We need to work hard again and we took away a good les­son in this game.

“Un­for­tu­nately in the first half our scrum was not so good but it was bet­ter in the sec­ond half.”

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