Cape Town - After completing a 3-0 series whitewash over France in
Dunedin, the All Blacks can take plenty from their effort into the next phase
of their Test season.
That was the word from their coach Steve Hansen who said the
49-14 result had been very pleasing, especially as they tidied up a lot of the
problems experienced during the second Test in Wellington. The tight five were
more cohesive and provided the necessary platform.
Players will return to their franchises for the final stages
of Super Rugby before the onset of the Rugby Championship.
Speaking after the game, Hansen said flyhalf Damian McKenzie
had answered a lot of the questions being asked of him by fans and the media.
"He showed that's a very, very capable footballer at 10
and can drive a team around the park and some of the other younger guys played
particularly well, then you chuck in some of the older guys, so it was a good
night for us," Hansen told the All Blacks' official website.
The defence had been strong throughout the game, but
especially during the first six minutes of the clash when the All Blacks had
very little ball. It had got better the further it went into the game while one
or two things had been tidied up at half-time and the players responded.
Lock Scott Barrett had produced his best game in the All
Blacks' jersey and Hansen said it was reward that he had been putting in to not
over-think the game and to just get out and play.
"Tonight he did that really, really well and got big
rewards for it because his instincts are good and he did some wonderful things
and allowed us to give the skipper (Sam Whitelock) a wee break," added the
Hansen said he was pleased with the effort of each of the
debut players Shannon Frizell, Jack Goodhue, Jackson Hemopo and Richie Mo'unga
and all four could be pleased with their efforts.
"As the game went on Shannon got better and all week
Jackson has looked really comfortable in our group and surprisingly picked
things up really quickly and for a new guy he looked really comfortable and
played like it," he added.
Backs coach Ian Foster said Goodhue had run some great lines
and what he liked was how he handled getting the ball a number of times in
tricky situations yet managed to make the right decisions and he had dealt with
experience opponents in the French midfield very well.
Looking ahead to the Rugby Championship, Hansen said the All
Blacks just had to get better overall. But they had been without Beauden
Barrett, Kieran Read, Liam Squire, Brodie Retallick and Nepo Laulala while they
had also been trying to introduce new aspects to their game.
Those players returning would make the All Blacks even
"The day we think we've arrived we're finished so we've
just got to keep working hard," he said.
"I think South Africa and Australia are really improved
teams, are playing well and they are going to be great challenges and Argentina
seem to be ticking along well in the Super competition and they're going to
have a new coach so they're going to be surprise package as well."
Hansen said there was no surprise the way France had played
because the All Blacks felt even before they arrived they were an improving
team and they had a strong defensive record while their Six Nations season had
been good as well.
"They've come out here at the end of the season and the
first two Test matches were a real fight and it wasn't until tonight that we
really got some dominance for the whole 80 minutes and even tonight for the
first six or seven minutes we were under the pump and right up until half-time
it could have gone either way," he said.
"But we managed to hang in there and convert some of
the pressure we were applying our way so I think they are going good."