The Final Test in Dunedin (49-14) reinforces their supremacy
Damian Mckenzie, the All Blacks halfback scored twice and winger Rieko Loane’s hat trick saw the All Black’s depth as they accomplished a 49-14 triumph over France in Dunedin that gave them a 3-0 series sweep.
The final match, held at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on June 23, 2018 was a treat to watch.
Veteran Full-back Ben Smith and replacement Crusaders flanker Matt Todd also scored as the All Blacks tried to shut the game down in the second half.
Damian McKenzie started at his preferred position and the All Blacks profited from his speed and innate ability to find the gaps and exploit spaces.
The French could not defend McKenzie attacking the line the way he did with such pace and intricacy to his angle that he was able to twice score directly off first phase possession without a hand being laid on him.
It was an intolerable business for France, who no doubt had hoped that an All Blacks side with four new caps in it, would have been raw, nervous and vulnerable.
France scrum-half and Captain Morgan was replaced by Baptiste Serin early in the match, who scored a try whilst returning centre Wesley Fofana crossed the line for the visitors, who were beginning to impress in the first half before a relentless ABs had their say.
There was more refereeing controversy as McKenzie rounded up the Referee John Lacey to go through a hole in the French defence to score a try.
France lost the first two Tests, going down 52-11 in the first and 26-13 in the second. Both of those defeats hinged on poor refereeing decisions; a Yellow card in the first Test (at Eden Park, Auckland, on June 9) which saw the French outfit smashed after holding the All Blacks to 11-11 after 50 minutes and a red card in the second (at Westpac Stadium, Wellington on June 16) which cost them a match they could have won.
The Score Board
New Zealand 49 (B Smith, M Todd, D McKenzie (2), R Loane (3), Tries; D McKenzie; seven conversions
France 14 (B Serin, W Fofana tries; A Belleau- two Conversions
All Blacks: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Aaron Smith; 1 Joe Moody, 2 Codie Taylor, 3 Owen Franks, 4 Sam Whitelock (c), 5 Scott Barrett, 6 Shannon Frizell, 7 Ardie Savea, 8 Luke Whitelock. Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Jordie Barrett.
France: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Remi Lamerat, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Gael Fickou, 10 Anthony Bellau, 9 Morgan Parra (c); 1 Dany Priso, 2 Camille Chat, 3 Uini Atonio, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 5 Yoann Maestri, 6 Mathieu Babillot, 7 Kelian Galletier, 8 Kevin Gourdon. Replacements: 16 Adrien Pelissie, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Felix Lambey, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Maxime Medard.
Sheevas Dayal is our Rugby Correspondent. He covered the Three-Test Steinlager Series held in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin over the past three Saturdays- June 9, June and June 23, 2018. His reports were published in our Web Editions, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn on the days following the matches.
Damian McKenzie makes an offload against France.
Photo Courtesy: Andrew Cornaga for Photosport (Through RNZ)