New Zealand have pulled off a commanding performance, totally dominating the French to win 62-13.
How did they get there?
The All Blacks were arguably the top Quarter Final qualifier. They finished the Pool stage with the most table points (19 of a possible 20) and points differential (+125).
France finished with 14 points and a +57 differential. The biggest difference, of course, is that whereas the All Blacks went through unbeaten, France dropped their top-of-the-Pool match to Ireland.
Pool results: New Zealand beat Argentina 26-16, Namibia 58-14, Georgia 43-10 and Tonga 47-9. France beat Italy 32-10, Romania 38-11 and Canada 41-18 before losing to Ireland 9-24.
History never repeats (but sometimes it echoes).
I’m sure everyone knows that France famously derailed the All Blacks World Cups in 1999 and 2007, but New Zealand still lead 3-2 in RWC matches. New Zealand won the 2011 Pool match and 1987 and 2011 Finals. In all matches the All Blacks took a 42-12 lead into this morning; France’s last win being way back in 2009.
Less than an hour before kickoff the New Zealand TAB were offering $5.00 for a French win c.f. just $1.15 for the All Blacks. If memory serves those are similar odds to what was on offer going into the 1999 Semi- and 2007 Quarter Finals. I was game enough to stick $25 each on NZ by 1-10 and 11-20. The winnings would be used to take the wifey out for breakfast with the proceeds.
So, is it the yummy eggs benny at The Coffee Pot Waterford, or an eggs benny roll from Hungry Jacks Woodridge? Read on to find out….
New Zealand dominated the opening ten minutes but had only a Dan Carter penalty goal to show for it. France matched this with their own penalty goal to Scott Spedding off a massive kick. More pressure resulted in a Michalak clearance being charged down by Brodie Retallick from which he scored the opening try. To add injury to insult, Michalak took no further part in the match.
Parra kicked a penalty after 15 then missed one after 17 so at quarter time in was 10-6. At this point your average All Black supporter was thinking “yeah, this is gonna be tighter than a really tight thing”. Nek minnit Milner-Skudder and Savea scored, both converted by Carter, and it was 24-6.
France struck back through a brute-strength Piccamoles try, Parra converting for 24-13. before Savea scored his second which Carter couldn’t convert. Half time New Zealand 29-13 France.
Possibly the most remarkable things about the half was that there was just one scrum, in the 25th minute. The New Zealand forwards seemed able to pick off French lineout ball at will. Even so, any thoughts of “we got this” we’re followed immediately by thoughts of “yeah, we had it at half time in ’99, how did that work out again?”
Crockett went off after 28 minutes with what was reported as being a groin strain. Joe Moody, who only arrived five days ago replaced him. Michalak was the only French casualty of the half.
Julian ‘The Bus” Savea score one of the three tries in a MOTM Performance
Milner-Skudder didn’t come out after half time, replaced by “Beaugan” Barrett.
After some scrappy play to start the second 40, Picamoles got himself card for “putting a fist into the face of Black 7”. Not a punch, mind, just a fist into the face. France were made to pay with Kaino scoring after 50. Picamoles’ return didn’t really help, Savea collecting his third try and Read also going over in the 64th for a commanding 48-13 lead.
Kerr-Barlow scored two minutes later to bring up the 50 and again in the 71st to complete the scoring at 62-13. Nonu could have made things worse still, dropping the ball just short of the line. Owens finally put the French out of their misery.
Julian Savea won the MOTM poll but it really could have gone to any number of others. Whitelock, Retallick and Kaino who were all immense. Aaron Smith who had the backline humming and Ma’a Nonu showed his full bag of tricks.
The All Blacks will take on South Africa next week on the back of a performance that was light years ahead of anything they produced in Pool play. It was a record defeat for France but to be fair to them I doubt anyone would have got within 20 points of the All Blacks today.
There weren’t enough scrums (six in total, I think) to gauge how good this All Black scrum. The lineout functioned perfectly and the breakdown work was brilliant. Read had a bad case of the dropsies but Whitelock and Kaino were both strong under the restart.
Bok fans should be worried.
With a Game like this, this is how the whole of France would be feeling right now.
For The Record
New Zealand 62 (Julian Savea 3, Tawera Kerr-Barlow 2, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Brodie Retallick, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read tries; Dan Carter 7 con, pen) defeated France 13 (Louis Picamoles try; Scott Spedding pen, Morgan Parra con, pen).
Half time 29-13.
Obviously my points margin bets both got shat all over but, who cares, I’m off to the Woodridge markets for a mean feed from Auntie’s Kitchen. Eggs benny? Yeah nah bro, hook me up with a flounder meal!