International Rugby

All Blacks cruise past France again as Fall sees red

New Zealand again took advantage of a depleted France side at Westpac Stadium, seeing off the 14-man visitors 26-13 to clinch the three-Test series after two matches.

The All Blacks had taken control in Auckland last week after Paul Gabrillagues was contentiously sin-binned, but there could have been few complaints about Benjamin Fall’s 12th-minute red card for a challenge on Beauden Barrett in this one.

Barrett was unable to continue, yet New Zealand were able to kick on and seal a second comfortable victory without really impressing.

Joe Moody, Ben Smith and Jordie Barrett scored before the break, with the latter adding another try that ensured there would be no unlikely comeback for the spirited visitors, who belatedly responded with Cedate Gomes Sa.

The first Test had been soaked in controversy that dripped into this week, France frustrated not only by Gabrillagues’ yellow card but also, among other things, the failure to punish challenges that resulted in Remy Grosso’s double skull fracture.

Yet Les Bleus started strongly, as at Eden Park, and should have led when the explosive Kelian Galletier set Geoffrey Doumayrou clear, but he was hauled down just short of the line.

Although Morgan Parra’s penalty ensured France did enjoy an early advantage, their momentum was again checked by a refereeing decision as Fall took out Beauden Barrett in the air.

New Zealand immediately capitalised as Moody streaked clear to cross, before Smith added a second try as Les Bleus struggled to contain their hosts.

Parra kicked another three points, but France conceded again before half-time. Denied minutes earlier by Aaron Smith’s forward pass, it was Jordie Barrett who got in on the act as he darted under the posts at the end of a ruthless break.

The All Blacks made a laboured start to the second half, withstanding some French pressure, but Jordie Barrett soon profited from another swift counter following a line-out to notch his second try.

Although TJ Perenara was sin-binned for failing to roll away from a tackle, Les Bleus were again frustrated when Pierre Bourgarit was denied after crossing with a double movement.

Gomes Sa went through in the dying seconds to get the try France’s performance merited, though, and they will now hope to keep their discipline and give New Zealand a thorough test in Dunedin next week.

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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