Sunday, 10 June 2007

All Blacks inflict record defeat on France

This is from the All Blacks official website:

Rampant All Blacks forward power and superior attacking skills in the backs ran France ragged in a nine try feast to win by a record 61-10 in the second Iveco Test at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

The All Blacks were dominant throughout playing with much greater cohesion and employing some deft individual touches spread right across the team.

There were moments of looseness which allowed the French to snare ball, as when they scored their 15th minute try in the second half, but the opportunities were generally few and far between and well contained.

Such was the All Blacks dominance that any French success was immediately countered with yet another try.

However, the effort came at a cost as lock
Ali Williams was forced to leave the field with a prospective broken jaw.

Scrum time became an embarrassment for the French as the home team applied the pressure to significant advantage, occasionally turning ball over and gaining the feed.

While halfback
Byron Kelleher was dominant early, until replaced by an electric Brendon Leonard eight minutes into the second half, it was No.8 Rodney So'oialo who provided several touches of his class to the second half effort in one of his more commanding displays.

The All Blacks proved unaffected by the pre-game warmup setback when lock
Keith Robinson was forced to withdraw due to a late calf muscle injury.

The All Blacks went onto immediate attack from the kick-off, but failed to make the most of early chances and it was first five-eighths Benjamin Boyet who rewarded the first French excursion into All Blacks territory by landing a 48m penalty goal in the fourth minute.

From the re-start the All Blacks won a penalty and when second five-eighths
Luke McAlister's kick hit the post, centre Arnaud Mignardi attempted to run the ball out but he was tackled.

The All Blacks gained the ball and a series of determined charges at the line followed before hooker
Anton Oliver grounded the ball at the base of the posts to score his third Test try.

McAlister followed his conversion with a 14th minute penalty goal.

The moment Wellington fans had been waiting for came when local flanker
Jerry Collins hit rampaging French No. 8 Sebastien Chabal with a bone-shaking tackle in the same manner Chabal hit Chris Masoe in the first Test.

Twenty-two minutes into the half McAlister landed his second penalty goal, and from the re-start the All Blacks ran the ball back with fullback
Leon MacDonald kicking into the 22m area for the ball to be carried back.

From the five-metre scrum, Kelleher was unstoppable.

Then from the restart, Kelleher was in the action again when chipping over the top of the ruck.

As his French opposite Nicholas Durand attempted an infield pass, wing
Joe Rokocoko was straight onto the ball to take the intercept and race 50 metres unchallenged to score and put the All Blacks out to a 25-3 lead.

Two minutes before halftime, some outstanding running from wing
Sitiveni Sivivatu and Rokocoko resulted in the play moving to the French 22m area where from a ruck, Kelleher worked the blind, found replacement lock Troy Flavell and he found Rokocoko who strolled over for his second.

France had to replace second five-eighths Lionel Mazars with a hand injury.

France started the second half strongly but couldn't capitalise and it was the All Blacks who struck first when Sivivatu created room on the left, linked with So'oialo, who cleared to MacDonald who raced 30m to score.

Fifteen minutes into the spell, centre
Isaia Toeava benefited from a perfect inpass from McAlister to run strongly to score. While he had a mixed time with his handling there was no doubt of the power he possesses to utilise chances.

With the chance taken to get substitutes onto the field early in the second half, some of the fluidity went out of the All Blacks play, but there was little inventiveness from the French with what ball they could secure.

The application of forward drive allowed the All Blacks to rebuild with effect and after several barging runs it was Collins who drove over. McAlister's conversion took it out to 49-10.

Another deft touch from a lineout throw on the French 22m saw replacements, prop
Neemia Tialata and hooker Keven Mealamu, use a returned lineout throw to create the try for Mealamu.

Right on fulltime a lineout steal by
Chris Jack saw McAlister make a midfield break and feed back in to first five-eighths Nick Evans who capped a fine game with the try.


New Zealand 61 (Joe Rokocoko 2, Anton Oliver, Byron Kelleher, Leon MacDonald, Isaia Toeava, Jerry Collins, Keven Mealamu, Nick Evans tries; Luke McAlister 5 con, 2 pen)

France 10 (Jullien Laharrague try; Benjamin Boyet con, pen).

HT: 30-3

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