Not NZ's best, but still too good

Sat, 22 Jun 2013 13:41
Nz-v-fra2 Nz-v-france Thierry-dusautoir--fra-v-nz
We switched off

The All Blacks clung on in an error-riddled performance to clinch a 24-9 victory over France in New Plymouth on Saturday.

However, despite completing a clean sweep of the three-Test series, New Zealand admitted they were well of their expected standards.

The score, in what was a messy game, was blown out by a try to home-town hero Beauden Barrett on the stroke of full-time.

Barrett, who came on as a late replacement, brought a brief spark to a game that was dominated by kicking from both sides, particularly in the first half, and unforced handling errors.

"It wasn't our best," All Black coach Steve Hansen understated after the final whistle, as he reviewed how his new integrated running-kicking game plan went askew.

"We've just got to tidy up all aspects in our game and just get better at right across the board."

The All Blacks scored the only tries in the match - to Barrett and to Ben Smith just before halftime - with Dan Carter adding the extra points from four penalties and a conversion.

Jean-Marc Doussain kicked two penalties and Florian Fritz landed a drop-goal for France, who led 3-0 early and again 9-8 just after half-time.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre believed the final scoreline was a "harsh" reflection on the way his side competed for most of the game.

"To fight and carry on and have very good periods is very important but when we switched off against New Zealand at the end of the first half and at the end of the game we conceded a lot of points."

Hansen had demanded a continued improvement from the 23-13 "ugly" first Test win and while the 30-0 second Test victory was a step forward it was two steps backwards in the third.