France despondent after All Black defeat

After conquering world and Tri-Nations champions South Africa, French hopes were sky high for a second southern hemisphere scalp when they faced New Zealand in their final autumn Test.

 

But crucially lacking the powerful presence of injured backrowers Imanol Harinordoquy and Louis Picamoles and with a misfiring half-back pairing, France faltered against the superb running game of the All Blacks and came out the wrong side of a 39-12 thumping here on Saturday.

New Zealand scored five tries to none and completely dominated the final 30 minutes of a game the relatively youthful French team were desperately hoping would cast in stone their aspirations ahead of the next Rugby World Cup in 2011.


Loosehead prop Fabien Barcella, who gave Neemia Tialata a torrid opening quarter before fading badly, said France had given away too much ball.


“There’s where we have to perform better, keeping the ball to stop them playing,” Barcella said.


“We tried to play but were foiled, having come across a stronger team than us. Maybe it’s a good thing to see all the work we need to do.


“There were some very good things during this autumn series and some less good. We wanted to lay down the same foundations as against South Africa but they weren’t there.


“We beat the world champions and had a great game against Samoa.


“But it proves that there’s an enormous gap between us and the All Blacks.”


“They weren’t the same side as in the summer (when France won the first Test before going on to lose the second). They’ve got players back like Richie McCaw, who’s not the best player in the world for nothing, and Dan Carter, who is an extraordinary player.


“We came up against an outstanding team and we were used as a sparring partner. It’s a shame to finish the autumn series in this way.


“For the first time something was expected of France and we were taken seriously by the All Blacks.”


Francois Trinh-Duc, who was completely overshadowed by opposite number 10 Carter – named man-of-the-match for his glittering contribution that included 14 points with his boot, said much remained for the French to do.


“The scoreline is heavy,” he admitted.

 

“It was a build-up of all the little details. We allowed them too many balls to run back at us.

“We have to be more efficient: there’s still a lot of work to do.


“They played going forward which for them was easier but for us more difficult to defend.”

 

France coach Marc Lievremont added: “You must realise the enormous All Black talent on display.

“They were very good on the night: they were good when attacking and put us under pressure in defence, they were always ahead and always managed to score at crucial points in the game.


“We, however, were unable to convert our opportunities.


“We did manage to move them around, but they were very efficient and proactive and succeded in converting their chances into points.”

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