Rugby: Laumape, McKenzie provide spark from All Blacks bench

Just like many times before, the All Blacks bench came up trumps.

A controversial yellow card to French lock Paul Gabrillagues may have changed the momentum of the test, but it was New Zealand's replacements that put the final nail in the coffin.

Front-rower Karl Tu'inikuafe's impact on debut was undeniable, but Ngani Laumape and Damian McKenzie stole the show out wide.

McKenzie needed just two minutes to get on the scoresheet, running more than 50 metres to touch down in the right corner.

After replacing Jordie Barrett, the Chiefs first-five was more than comfortable in his usual position of fullback.

"There's a lot more time out there compared to 10,” McKenzie said. “I really enjoyed it, happy to go wherever I'm needed, wherever I'm called upon.

"It was still tough going, trying to get the ball into space and exploiting that, and the boys did a really good job later in that second half to do so.

"It's a different perspective coming off the bench, just trying to bring a bit of spark, a bit of energy, and having a go and backing yourself.”

Just a couple of minutes later, McKenzie put the foot down once more and cut through a tiring French defence, before finding a rampaging Laumape on the right wing, bumping off three would-be tacklers to score the try.

Laumape credited teammates for his self-belief with the ball and was more than happy to profit from one of McKenzie’s many line-breaks.

"The thing about this team is they always tell you you're here for a reason - because you're a good rugby player,” he said. “When I was running down the side-line, I probably should have passed it to TJ, but he always tells me to pull the trigger and that was my mind-set.

"Credit to all the boys who started off the game - they did all the work and the messages from the coach.

“When you come on, you have to bring on energy and that's what I wanted to do, but yeah, the lungs were burning.

"I think that's the game plan. If I come on again and DMac's on, try to keep up with him.

“But he's got so much energy, he's everywhere. It was awesome."


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