All Blacks win brutal midweek encounter

Nov 14, 2017 - 9:27 PM The All Blacks have beaten a rugged French selection 28-23 in Lyon and laid the foundation for future success in the process, according to coach Steve Hansen.

A hugely inexperienced New Zealand team trailed 15-14 at halftime in a physical contest before gaining some control soon after the break.

Hansen was delighted his team held its nerve as the final quarter descended into a testy affair and the French scored to close the margin while debut centre Jack Goodhue was in the sin bin for taking out a support runner.

Hansen wanted to assess his next wave of talent in an international cauldron and got the acid test he wanted from a committed home team.

That a New Zealand side featuring nine uncapped players and boasting just 150 caps between them clung on could only be positive for the future, he said.

"Everyone put their hand up. You can go right through the group and I think everybody did what we asked them to do and enhanced their reputations," Hansen said.

"The confidence that will give some of those guys, you can't buy.

"Some of these guys may not get their opportunity until after 2019."

Among New Zealand's best was halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow, in possibly his last game before taking up a French club contract.

Hansen said the nuggety Chiefs No.9 he will be missed.

"He's been in outstanding form most of his All Blacks career, I reckon.

"Do we want him to leave? No. But he's made that decision so then we've got to decide what we do."

Burly flanker Liam Squire shook off the effects of a virus which ruled him out Saturday's 38-18 Test win over France in Paris and unleashed a muscular display to prove he is ready to face Scotland in Edinburgh this weekend.

"I thought he was really physical and punishing with his defence," Hansen said.

The All Blacks' first-half tries were fine team efforts, with both converted from the sideline by first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga.

Squire crossed in the left corner in the 11th minute and Matt Duffie in the right in the 24th, the first All Blacks try for the former Melbourne Storm NRL winger.

On both occasions France responded with a try to winger Gabriel Lacroix, the second a 70m intercept effort following a long, loose pass from Ngani Laumape.

Playing with more precision in the third quarter, the visitors create close-range tries to lock Patrick Tuipulotu and Laumape to power 28-15 ahead.

The 14-man All Blacks couldn't stop centre Henry Chavancy crossing but were able to hold out the passionate hosts over the final seven minutes.

Source: AAP

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