As it happened: All Blacks vs France - First test

FULLTIME: ALL BLACKS 52 - 11 FRANCE: New Zealand just far too good in the end. It was tight right before the French were given an extremely controversial yellow card, allowing the ABs to run riot in the second half. The All Blacks' bench were sensational. Thanks for joining us. 

80mins: ALL BLACKS TRY - SAVEA: ABs are close to the try line. Savea has a crack, throws one tackler away, beats another, gets up to have a second go and he's over for the try! All Blacks close out a convincing win with a try at the death. 

78mins: McKenzie's free down the right wing once again, he puts the foot down but his feet dragged over the sideline as he dived for the corner. He's been sensational since coming on.

76mins: ALL BLACKS TRY - IOANE: Pélissié sees a man unmarked outside him, but his pass is well anticipated by Ioane and the winger intercepts to run away 90 metres to score the try. Thomas tried hard in the chase and almost caught him, but couldn't.

74mins: Tu’inukuafe finally does something wrong and is penalised. France have the throw inside the 22m. They win it and Medard takes it up and they're just five out. 

72mins: Laumape causing all sorts of problems, busting through another tackle. McKenzie tries to keep it in field in the tackle but the ball rolls over the sideline.

70mins: Barrett tries the bomb and Ben Smith gets up to pt it back ABs way. Barrett now tries the cross-kick but Thomas does well to clean up and steps three players before being tackled in the 22m. France shift right but knock on with an overlap begging.

68mins: ALL BLACKS TRY - LAUMAPE: McKenzie gets the ball at pace, puts the foot down and he's away once more! He's up over halfway, fires it to Laumape on the right wing, he beats one before bumping off Medard to go over for the try. What pace from DMac and what strength there from Laumape.

66mins: ALL BLACKS TRY - MCKENZIE: Whitelock rips the ball back for the ABs. Taylor's got it, shows the ball, takes it in contact and offloads to a surging McKenzie and he's away! He steps in and out and dives in the right corner to score the try. They're running away with it now.

64mins: ALL BLACKS TRY - IOANE: ABs are driving well. Ioane switches direction to the left wing, Aaron Smith sees him, fires it and the winger's over for the try. Easy as you like. 

62mins: Lapandry closes the gap at the lineout and is penalised. Surprised the ref didn't reach for the pocket. ABs will have a lineout inside 22m. Meanwhile, McKenzie's replaced Jordie.

60mins: Parra lines up the tough shot at goal and it falls just under the cross bar before Beauden Barrett drives it long down field with the clearance kick.

58mins: So, two tries in five minutes since France were unjustly shown the yellow card. Meanwhile, a French player is tackled high and win the penalty. It's Cane the guilty party. So where's the yellow card? Not this time apparently.

56mins: ALL BLACKS TRY - B.SMITH: Aaron Smith puts up the bomb and it's come back on the ABs side before Ioane spots space and puts the kick through. Medard returns but the ABs take the quick lineout. Crotty's free down the right wing, finds Taylor on the inside and he pops it to Ben Smith to score the try.

54mins: ALL BLACKS TRY - TAYLOR: Beauden Barrett's got a ton of support on his left, shapes to pass to Ioane, doesn't and grubbers through for Taylor and the ball pops up beautifully for the hooker and he's over in the corner for try.

54mins: Jordie Barrett's in space and runs across field! He's got Ioane on his left, but leaves the pass too late and Medard does brilliantly to intercept and bring the play to an end.

52mins: Gabrillagues catches Crotty with a swinging arm in the tackle and he's shown a straight yellow card. Wow, replays show he never made contact with his neck or head. Poor decision.

50mins: Beauden Barrett's kick is a good one and he pumps it long to force the French lineout just inside their own half. He was tracking back but was still able to make really good contact.

48mins: Tu’inukuafe is replacing Moody and immediately makes an impact as the ABs demolish the French scrum and awarded the penalty. Beaudie will line up the easy shot at goal and makes no mistake. We're all locked up.

46mins: Squire wins the lineout, Barrett tries the chip over the top but France dive on the loose ball to clean up before clearing through Parra from the ruck. ABs will have yet another 22m lineout.

44mins: Sam Whitelock gets up to win the lineout and ABs drive. They're being pushed backwards and France turn it over! Thomas tries getting rid of one but can only knock on. Nevermind, it was Ioane who knocked on first in the tackle.

43mins: All Blacks going direct, taking it up through their forwards. Atonio is offside and is penalised. Beaudie finds touch for a five metre lineout.

41mins: Barrett gets the second half underway and Medard clears, but only as far as the 22m. Great chance for ABs immediately after the break.

HALFTIME: ALL BLACKS 8 - 11 FRANCE: Wow, what a battle we have on our hands. France have defied the odds and hold a halftime lead. New Zealand have yet to stamp their mark on the game and have been playing catch up since the kick-off. Can they stage a second half comeback? Stay tuned to find out.

40mins: Luke Whitelock wins the lineout and immediately the ABs have the advantage. The ball is lost so we'll come back. Aaron Smith taps and the ABs are just five metres out. They're keeping it tight, taking it up through their forwards and Whitelock's held up to take us into halftime.

40mins: Lienert-Brown looks to be in for the try, but Aaron Smith obstructed a French player. ABs have the penalty however for an earlier offside. ABs will have the lineout just five metres out.

38mins: Parra tries the bomb from the breakdown and Jordie takes it well. France defence holding up very well, as NZ struggle to make metres. Ioane beats one and he's away down the left wing before a great tackle around the boot laces brings him down! ABs hot on attack!

36mins: Sam Whitelock is penalised for not releasing the player and Parra will line up a shot at goal from his own half. Tough kick, goes low and hard and it's over! Great nudge from the halfback.

34mins: Jordie Barrett gets the ball at pace, puts the grubber through for Ioane but it's wide and he's forced to take it into touch. Good idea, just not enough space. French defended it well. ABs penalised at the lineout.

32mins: Luke Whitelock runs it back hard from the scrum before Beauden Barrett's kick is knocked on by Medard who tried to catch it at serious pace.

30mins: A clever lineout sees Grosso almost go through! They're keeping it tight, taking it up through their forwards but Maestri knocks on just six or seven metres out.

28mins: Crotty takes it up from the scrum before the All Blacks clear up field for Medard to return it. Parra tries the box kick but it's easy for Beaudie to gather, he puts the bomb up but knocks on. Moody goes high in the tackle and is penalised.

26mins: A French kick through is charged but a lucky bounce for Priso sees the loosie in space! He's held up by Beaudie and Aaron Smith and they force the turnover.

26mins: Atonio enters the maul incorrectly and is pinged. Whitelock wins the lineout and Ben Smith has a crack up the middle. Ball's come free at the ruck and the French turn it over.

24mins: Beauden Barrett tries the up-and-under inside his own 22m and Ben Smith's attempted tap back ends in French hands. They combine well down the left wing but Belleau is bundled into touch.

22mins: ALL BLACKS TRY - B.BARRETT: Scott Barrett does brilliantly to offload to brother, Jordie and he's in space! He passes to Crotty who's tackled just five metres out. Aaron Smith sees Beauden Barrett on the left wing and he connects and the first-five is over for the try. He can't convert his own try.

20mins: Aaron Smith does well to tackle Sanconnie straight from the back of the scrum, strips the ball free but he never let go and is penalised. Gets an extra 10 for back chat. Parra will line up a shot at goal just in front of 10m and he nails it.

18mins: France infringe at the lineout but it's just a free-kick and the ABs call for a scrum. They get it back this time and Lienert-Brown is smashed in the tackle and knocks on. Phew, what a hit by Bastareaud.

16mins: Lienert-Brown makes a meal of the kick-off and drops it cold as the French have it inside the 22m! They're putting it through the phases but Gabrillagues knocks on.

14mins: Priso is penalised for going off his feet and Beauden Barrett this time will line up a shot at goal, about 40 metres out. His kick is down the middle and the reduce the lead.

12mins: Barrett does brilliantly to streal the lineout and there's acres of space for Crotty! He's away with a number of support players but his pass is intercepted before it comes free and ends with Thomas dotting down in side his own goal area for the 22m dropout.

10mins: All Blacks get up to win the restart but they knock on at the ruck for a French scrum. There's a real buzz now amongst the French players, cheering the NZ error.

8mins: FRANCE TRY - GROSSO: All Blacks try to play it quickly after winning the turnover. Ben Smith tries to scoop it to his support player but it's intercepted by Grosso and the left winger races away 30 metres to score the game's opening try.

6mins: There's a bit of space for Ioane down the left wing but he's well looked after. Barrett tries the chip kick but France look after it well and Thomas is in space! He's finally tackled the 40m.

4mins: France are offside and are penalised. Jordie Barrett will have a shot at goal around halfway. He's got the distance but he pushed it right.

3mins: Beauden Barrett attacks from deep but decides to kick through and it rolls into touch around the French 22m. The first scrum was very even.

1mins: Belleau kicks-off and Barrett takes it down for the All Blacks. Aaron Smith clears from the base of the ruck and France will attack. They try the offload in the tackle but knock on on halfway.

7:33pm: Time now for the haka! Perenara leading proceedings with Sam Whitelock front and centre. It's the 'Ka Mate'. Good stuff! Moments away from kick-off.

7:31pm: New Zealand anthem now sung by Moses Mackay. Doesn't quite have the same punch as France.

7:30pm: French anthem first up. Passion not lost on the players and supporters alike. 

7:29pm: Whitelock leads out the All Blacks to loud cheer from the fans. Just the anthems and haka to come before we get underway.

7:27pm: It's a beautiful day in Auckland today and it's continued on into the night. France now making their way out of the tunnels.

7:25pm: France have the third-best winning record against the All Blacks. Ahead of the likes of England and Ireland. So, anything can happen. There's always a chance.

7:20pm: Can't wait for Tu’inukuafe to get on paddock for his first test cap. What a story. So many interesting match-ups and story-lines to look out for.

7:15pm: It's finally here. We take a break from Super Rugby as the All Blacks play their first test of the year against France. Really excited for this one despite the odds suggesting a thrashing.

Kia ora and welcome to the first test between the All Blacks and France at Eden Park in Auckland.

International rugby is finally upon us and New Zealand will battle 'Les Bleus' in a three-match series.

Steve Hansen has named a formidable side in absence of regular captain, Kieran Read, world's best lock, Brodie Retallick and second-five Sonny Bill Williams.

France on the other hand are without several players due to the Top 14 final, but are led by Toulon powerhouse, Mathieu Bastareaud.

We bring you live streaming written commentary, (BE SURE TO REFRESH YOUR BROWSER), and all the action. Video will be available as soon as the final whistle goes.

Commentary will start around 7:20pm. In the meantime, watch the video above for a full breakdown of the first test.


New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock (c), 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Ngani Laumape

France: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud (c), 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Remy Grosso, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fabien Sanconnie, 7 Kelian Gourdon, 6 Judicaël Cancoriet, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Dany Priso

Replacements: 16 Adrien Pélissié, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Bernard Le Roux, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Gael Fickou

Match officials
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), John Lacey (Ireland)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

Previous results
2017: New Zealand won 38-18 in Paris
2016: New Zealand won 24-19 in Paris
2015: New Zealand won 62-13 (World Cup quarter-final) in Cardiff
2013: New Zealand won 26-19 in Paris
2013: New Zealand won 24-9 in New Plymouth

All Blacks $1.03 France $10.00

Pre-match banter: Ross Karl - Selections hint at conservative All Blacks approach

OPINION: We're got our first All Blacks team of the season.

Apart from having three Barretts in there and Karl Tuinukuafe, who could have been a bouncer this weekend if he wasn't playing, there's one seriously obvious selection talking point - Jordie Barrett at 15.

Ben Smith - the world's best fullback - moves to the wing and there's no room for Waisake Naholo, who has been superb recently. He's fast, he's powerful, he's looking good and has scored eight tries so far this season, but there's no room for him.


Coach Steve Hansen says they liked what Barrett did last year against the Lions in June. They like his high-ball options, they like his kicking game, they like his attacking flair - they like everything about him, really, because he's a Barrett.

He's there at fullback and you have to wonder what the All Blacks' approach will be this week.

You'd think, if they weren't going to be throwing the ball directly wide to a guy like Naholo and you've got Barrett at the back, there could be some kicking going on.

There could be kicking from both sides - maybe they expect the French to kick a lot.

The French might just kick a lot, because one of the talking points in their selection is Morgan Parra. This guy is a very good halfback, but we haven't seen him play test football since the All Blacks beat the French in the quarter-final at the 2015 World Cup.

Of course, the French select a lot of players all the time. That's just how they are - unpredictable on the field and off it with their selections.

 Parra is a good kicker of the ball and a good goal-kicker. It makes you think that, just maybe, they'll be playing off 'nine', rather than off 10.

They could big ball runners close to the rucks and mauls, and it could be a physical night out at the office for the All Blacks.

One of the places the French are really strong is in the midfield, with big centre Mathieu Bastereaud, who got in trouble here in 2009, as a young guy who went out on the town.

Who's going to look after him?

As it happened: All Blacks vs France - First test
Photo credit: Newshub.

The All Blacks have decided to go with Ryan Crotty at 12 and Anton Leinert-Brown at 13. Those two were very successful in 2016 as a midfield combination.

They're going to be up against it this weekend against a French team that rushes up and pushes out. You would have thought maybe Ngani Laumape could have got a look in.

He likes to bang up into the line against the big French centres, but they've gone with Leinert-Brown and Crotty, who both make very few mistakes.

Maybe this is a low-risk option for the All Blacks - they've gone with percentage players over flair and big powerful ball runners.

The TAB has got them at 24-point favourites. I'm not sure the All Blacks should be 24-point favourites in their very first test of the year

With the way they've gone at the back, if they're going to play percentages, you'd have to think they will win by at least a few points.


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