New Plymouth - New Zealand flyhalf Daniel Carter kicked 14 points as the All Blacks
ground out a flattering 24-9 victory over France in New Plymouth on
Saturday to complete a 3-0 series sweep.
The All Blacks, near
perfect in their 30-0 win in Christchurch a week ago, lacked the same
level of execution against a fired-up France, who were let down in the
final 10 minutes when lock Yoann Maestri was sin-binned for an apparent
Ben Smith and Beauden Barrett added tries for the home
side, who won the first match 23-13 in Eden Park, while France scrumhalf
Jean-Marc Doussain slotted two penalties and centre Florian Fritz added
Neither side were able to stamp any authority on the
game with the All Blacks attempting to revert to a high-tempo style with
quick ball and runners wide of the ruck to stretch the defence.
however, showed a greater intensity than they had in the last two weeks
and were unlucky not to have held the halftime lead after some wayward
goalkicking by Doussain, who missed two penalties.
had taken an eighth-minute lead when Fritz landed a dropgoal, only for
Carter to level the scores with a penalty eight minutes later.
and Carter then combined to miss three penalties before the All Blacks
finally broke down a resilient French defensive line when Smith was put
into space by fullback Israel Dagg, who drifted across field and cut out
three defenders with a long pass that allowed the winger to slide over.
was finally successful with his third penalty attempt, though the ball
ricocheted over the crossbar off an upright to ensure they went into the
interval trailing 8-6.
The French scumhalf gave his side the lead
shortly after the break before Carter added three second half penalties
before replacement Barrett, playing on his home ground, scored a
last-minute try on the counter following some superb work by Smith.
All Blacks next play Australia in their first test of the southern
hemisphere's Rugby Championship in Sydney on Aug. 17, while France host
New Zealand in Paris on Nov. 9.
New Zealand - Tries: Ben Smith, Beauden Barrett; Conversion: Daniel Carter; Penalties: Carter (4);
France - Penalties: Jean-Marc Doussain (2); Drop goal: Florian Fritz