Black and Blue battle awaits

Graham Henry believes the All Blacks’ double-header against France on 11 and 18 November will be Test matches to relish.

The sides last met at the Stade de France in November 2004. The All Blacks were superb, and aided by 25 Dan Cater points, thumped their hosts 45-6.

Henry though said they were braced for a far better showing by France this time and added that he felt the Test matches represent a clash between the world’s premier sides.

“The French will be as big and as good as they’ll ever be in Lyon in three weeks time,” he said on New Zealand’s Rugby Channel.

“They’ve been waiting two years for this contest, so we’ll have to be up there to give them a game.

“We’re the two best sides in the world, they’re the best team in Europe and I think those two games are going to be massive.”

Henry hinted that we could see a slightly more structured approach from his side, in what he predicted would be intensely physical matches.

“I think it is about survival rather than being smart on those two occasions to be up there to handle what I think will be a huge contest.”

All Black touring squad:

John Afoa, Auckland
Dan Carter, Canterbury
Jerry Collins, Wellington
Clarke Dermody, Southland
Jason Eaton, Taranaki
Andy Ellis, Canterbury
Nick Evans, Otago
Rico Gear, Tasman
Carl Hayman, Otago
Andrew Hore, Taranaki
Chris Jack, Tasman
Byron Kelleher, Waikato
Luke McAlister, North Harbour
Richie McCaw, Canterbury (Captain)
Leon MacDonald, Canterbury
Chris Masoe, Wellington
Aaron Mauger, Canterbury
Keven Mealamu, Auckland
Malili Muliaina, Waikato
Ma’a Nonu, Wellington
Anton Oliver, Otago
Keith Robinson, Waikato
Josevata Rokocoko, Auckland
James Ryan, Otago
Sitiveni Sivivatu, Waikato
Conrad Smith, Wellington
Rodney So’oialo, Wellington
Reuben Thorne, Canterbury
Neemia Tialata, Wellington
Piri Weepu, Wellington
Ali Williams, Auckland
Tony Woodcock, North Harbour