Hansen approves of midweek mission
REPORT: New Zealand coach Steve Hansen felt he had plenty to pleased about, after his touring team's midweek mission.
Facing a spirited and competitive France XV, the All Blacks emerged with a 28-23 win in an exciting contest in Lyon on Tuesday.
Several young players made their first appearances in All Blacks jerseys and experienced a white-hot atmosphere with a vocal French crowd having their influence in the game.
"I was really proud of the young men, six of them were having their first game and there were probably another six who haven't played more than four games," Hansen said.
"They played some really good rugby, particularly early on in the game and there were periods were the French got momentum and they defended their hearts out. All in all mission accomplished," he added.
Hansen said there had been some frustrations about the game but they had nothing to do with the players.
Hansen said the senior players in the group had responded well to the pressure.
"Dominic Bird had probably the best game I have seen him play for the All Blacks. Ardie Savea is coming along good now he's getting more game time and more physical. Ofa Tu'ungafasi came on and helped young Atu [Moli] at scrum time," he said.
Halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow who, barring injuries, played his last game provided an experienced hand for the side, with two tap penalties creating key tries.
It wasn't a match for flowing back play, but centre Ngani Laumape proved a handful in mid-field.
Captain Luke Whitelock was a constant presence off the ruck and driving the ball forward but few drove harder than lock Patrick Tuipulotu. Flankers Liam Squire and Ardie Savea were also strong with the ball while lock Dominic Bird was superb in the line-out and mauling play.
Tries: Lacroix 2, Chavancy
Pen: Trinh-Duc, Plisson
Tries: Squire, Duffie, Tuipulotu, Laumape
Cons: Sopoaga 3, Mo'unga
France XV: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Hugo Bonneval, 10 François Trinh-Duc, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Sekou Macalou, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Malik Hamadache, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Danny Priso.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Mohamed Boughanmi, 18 Lucas Pointud, 19 Julien Le Devedec, 20 Fabien Sanconnie, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Vincent Rattez.
New Zealand: 15 David Havili, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Luke Whitelock (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Dillon Hunt, 22 Mitch Drummond, 23 Richie Mo'unga.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), David Wilkinson (Ireland)
TMO: Sean Davey (England)