Rugby

All Blacks to wear poppy

2013-11-08 21:09
Richie McCaw (Gallo Images)

Paris - New Zealand will wear a specially designed white jersey with a red poppy on the sleeve when they tackle France in Paris on Saturday, two days before Armistice Day commemorations.

The All Blacks unveiled a picture of the shirt on their Twitter feed on Friday and captain Richie McCaw later told journalists that it was important to remember those who fought during the First World War.

The gesture, which was accompanied by a "lest we forget" hashtag, comes just two days after All Blacks players visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe in the French capital.

"We just took the time to make sure everyone understood the reason for wearing the poppy," he said.

"It's obvious you'll never (forget about it) in these parts of the world but a lot of Kiwis had a few bits to do with things during World War One and we wanted to make sure everyone knew why we were wearing one on our jersey."

Meanwhile, New Zealand go into the match on the back of 11 wins in 11 Tests this calendar year and the team is aiming for their first ever 100 percent year.

To do that they would also have to overcome England and Ireland over the next couple of weeks but first McCaw insists the French will provide a stern challenge despite their poor form this year.

France have won only one of eight internationals in 2013, and that was against Scotland, but both the heavy rain in Paris and the unpredictable French have got the All Blacks concerned.

"You've got to be smart when the weather's like this, the risk versus reward changes a little bit so maybe a bit more territory play, but you've got to be smart about when you use the ball and when you think you'll put yourself under more pressure," said McCaw, with more heavy rain expected for Saturday night at the Stade de France.

"We've just got to adapt. Coming round to the northern hemisphere at this time of year you've got to expect the greasy ball and a bit of rain.

"It's not as though it's a surprise. We had a good lesson in Hamilton against the Argentinians (a 28-13 victory in September) when we didn't adapt as well as we could have done.

"Those are the sort of lessons that hopefully we can make sure we get the options right. It's just about using the ball at the right times."

The weather may help the European style of play and hinder the All Blacks but McCaw expects the French to provide a challenge, despite having already beaten them three times in June.

"As history will tell you, what happens before actually means nothing.

"From our point of view, we don't read too much into that.

"The guys that played in June (McCaw was absent), those were tough test matches. Even though we got the three results, by that third one there wasn't much in it.

"You never, ever underestimate a French team.

"When you come up to the northern hemisphere, it's not real familiar for everyone. You get one shot at playing against the French up here so you want to do it well.

"So playing in a place like this (the Stade de France), knowing there's a bit of history between these teams, it certainly has that feel.

"We've beaten them three times this year already, that's probably where they're at their most dangerous because they'll be wanting to turn that around.

"You look at the times over history that's happened, they've come out and produced the big one.

"You look through their players, they've all played a lot of test matches. They've got a lot of ability, so we are expecting a hell of a match."

Teams:

France:


15 Brice Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Maxime Medard, 10 Remi Tales, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Wenceslas Lauret, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Yannick Forestier.

Substitutes: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20 Antonie Claassen, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Gael Fickou

New Zealand:

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock

Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ryan Crotty

Take a look at the special red poppy white All Blacks jersey we are wearing tomorrow against France. #LestWeForget - All Blacks

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