New Zealand produce a vastly improved performance from their first Test loss to beat France 14-10 in atrocious conditions.
All Blacks bounce back
New Zealand produced a vastly improved performance from their first Test loss to beat France 14-10 in atrocious conditions at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, yesterday. Ma'a Nonu scored a try as the All Blacks won the second Test to level the series, but France secured the Dave Gallaher Cup for the first time since it was introduced in 2000 by virtue of their five-point win in Dunedin last week. The visitors had been looking to become the first French side since 1994 to win a series against the All Blacks in New Zealand.
Fly-half Stephen Donald (two) and Luke McAlister kicked penalties for the All Blacks while Cedric Heymans beat four players down the left wing to score a great individual try for France after getting the ball 40 metres out. Julien Dupuy added the conversion while Dimitri Yachvili scored a penalty for the visitors. Both sides were guilty of far too many basic handling errors and the swirling wind caused problems for players fielding high kicks.
But the New Zealand forwards won praise from their coaches after the game. "We played a lot better right across the park, particularly the tight five," the All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen said. "They were more effective in what they did and in their decision making. "Their work at the breakdown gave the three loose guys opportunities. They played well." Meanwhile in Melbourne, Adam Ashley-Cooper came off the bench to score a try in both halves as Australia cruised to an emphatic 34-12 victory over Italy in their second and final Test yesterday.
In a match played out with key players rested on both sides, Italy opened the scoring with a penalty goal after the third minute, but had little time to enjoy the lead. * Reuters