Dunedin - Captain Sam Whitelock urged the All Blacks to
rediscover their cutting edge in Saturday's final Test as improving France look
to end their contentious tour on a high.
While New Zealand won the first two Tests to secure the
series, neither side is happy heading into the final showdown and Whitelock
said there was pressure on the home team to improve.
France feel aggrieved that refereeing decisions cost them
dearly in the 52-11 and 26-13 losses, while the All Blacks were outscored by 14
men in last week's second half in Wellington.
"We probably weren't as sharp as we were meant to
(be)," Whitelock said of their inability to cash in on an under-manned
France in the second Test.
New Zealand's problems have been analysed in what Whitelock
described as "a good training week" preparing for a battle at the
breakdown in the roofed Dunedin stadium.
"We need to go out and play well. The biggest driver
for us is internally so, no matter what's applied from outside in, it's us from
the inside that are really driving it," he said.
"The breakdown is critical no matter what game you play
but here, because the ground's always hard, the weather's always nice and
still, teams want to play. If you give teams fast ball it's very, very hard to
"I'm sure both sides will be putting a lot of energy
into that area and it will be interesting to see how it goes compared to last
The All Blacks have made 10 player changes and one
positional change, including a shake-up in the loose forwards where Luke
Whitelock, the captain's younger brother, is the only backrower to retain his
The flankers are Ardie Savea in his 25th Test and Shannon
Frizell on debut with Matt Todd, who has started only four of his 13 Tests, on
France have retained the same trio of Kevin Gourdon, Kelian
Galletier and Mathieu Babillot, who were instrumental in the All Blacks
conceding 20 turnovers in the second Test.
But the key French changes are in the centres where tour
skipper Mathieu Bastareaud and Geoffrey Doumayrou have been replaced by Clermont
pair Wesley Fofana and Remi Lamerat, with Morgan Parra given the captaincy.
Scrumhalf Parra believes France have zeroed in on an All
Blacks weakness and were looking for another blitz start in Dunedin.
Les Bleus had the upper hand in the first two Tests, leading
in both games until disputed refereeing decisions allowed New Zealand to launch
"They were in trouble at the start," Parra said.
"We have to start the best possible. When you play the All Blacks the
first 20 minutes are very important."
After a controversial yellow card in the first Test and a
red card - later rescinded - in the second Test, there is ample motivation for
"The first Test was difficult, second better but were
down to 14. This time we want to be closer," said Parra.
"We have to focus on us, have a good start. Games are
never the same. We dominated the second at times and we have to do the same and
The All Blacks and France have played only once before in
Dunedin, in 2009 at the now disused Carisbrook ground, the so-called House of
It was the All Blacks who suffered that time with France
winning 27-22 - the last time they beat New Zealand.