Wounded French Calls For Reinforcements
The All Blacks have been warned not to be seduced by their runaway win in the first Test as the wounded French bring in reinforcements for the second Test in Wellington on Saturday.
While All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he would “probably” stick with the same line-up, his French counterpart Jacques Brunel is expected to make wholesale changes after their hiding in Auckland.
“I hope we will be able to show something else, to be close till the end. I am convinced that will be achieved if we fix our communication problems in defence,” Brunel said. “They’ll be hurting,” Hansen noted. “If we were in their shoes we’d certainly be turning up with a fairly staunch attitude and a willingness to really give it a crack and I’m sure that’s what they will do.”
While Brunel put the focus on the French defence, Hansen highlighted the restart and running lines as obvious areas for the All Blacks to work on.
“We could get seduced by that scoreline, or understand there’s more in our game that we’ve got to get better at and have a real good week’s preparation,” he said. Hansen described the way the All Blacks handled the restarts during the eight-tries-to-one romp in Auckland as “pretty ugly” while getting the running line “a bit squarer would be nice”.
Brunel said that before deciding on his second Test lineup he would take a close look at the freshness “mentally and physically” of new arrivals Benjamin Fall, Mathieu Babillot and Kelian Galletier, who played in the Top 14 Final between Castres and Montpellier nine days ago.