International Rugby, Opinions

Record breaking All Blacks a mix of awesome and awful

The All Blacks sizzled, stumbled and soared in winning by 20 points against France in Paris.

The All Blacks also became the first team in Test history to score 2000 tries when Ryan Crotty scored after a Sonny Bill Williams grubber broke the French rush defence.

Crotty’s try was the All Blacks third of five on a wet Paris night when their first half effort set up a 38-18 win.

The All Blacks led 31-5 at half time but France won a reprieve early in the second half after a bizarre penalty try was awarded and Williams was yellow carded for a professional foul. Williams deliberately punched the ball over the dead ball line in collecting a high kick but the referee ruled France would have scored had Williams not punched the ball out of play.

The French for the next 30 minutes controlled the ball, won the collisions, won the favour of the referee and scored 13 unanswered points before right wing Waisake Naholo scored his second try with the last movement of the game. Everything went for France and the All Blacks couldn’t get their hands on the ball for any sustained period. Australian referee Angus Gardener also wore his beret in the second half as he kept France enthusiastic and the All Blacks honest.

Beauden Barrett kicked five conversions and a penalty for a 100 percent return in atrocious conditions.

This was the 59th Test between the two countries and the All Blacks have now won 46 and drawn one.

It had been 44 years since France last beat the All Blacks in Paris, and that will be extended to another year. The French have also never beaten the All Blacks at the Stade de France.

France 18 (T. Thomas, Penalty tries; A. Belleau 2 pens)
New Zealand 38 (D. Coles, W. Naholo (2), R. Crotty, S. Cane tries; B. Barrett 5 cons, pen)

All Blacks:
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames.

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

15 Nans Ducuing; 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Mathieu Bastareaud, 11 Yoann Huget; 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Antoine Dupont; 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Judicael Cancoriet; 5 Paul Gabrillagues, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina; 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot


Clement Maynadier, Raphael Chaume, Daniel Kotze, Paul Jedrasiak, Anthony Jelonch, Baptiste Serin, Francois Trinh-Duc, Damian Penaud

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