All Blacks expect game of pain against France
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand play their last international of the year against France on Saturday and All Black stars Israel Dagg and Julian Savea said both sides have to overcome the pain of past defeats.
The rivalry between the two is one of the most intense in rugby, even though New Zealand go into the match in Paris seeking a tenth straight win.
France scored a famous win over New Zealand in the 2007 World Cup quarterfinals, but the All Blacks thrashed France 62-13 in the quarterfinals last year. The New Zealanders are however still smarting from their defeat by Ireland in Chicago this month.
"They will be hurting from that game," Savea said of the crushing World Cup win.
"These guys don't forget anything so they are definitely coming for us and will want to rewrite that as well," he added.
"We know it won't be easy. These guys are coming for us and no doubt the way we felt after Chicago they are feeling that as well."
"What happens in the past does not matter," added Dagg.
"I know when I have played the French it has always been a tough battle. They always bring the A game and they are always full of surprises, so we are fully expecting that this weekend.
"They will be hurting. We have felt what it is like to be hurt and they will bring a lot of aggression, a lot of passion," he predicted.
Dagg said New Zealand, who will be playing in their new black and white jersey for the first time, were making "bone-deep preparation" for the clash.
"We talked today a few things about the history and losing to France in the quarterfinals [in 2007]," said Savea.
"As a country, we were very hurt. So, a lot of feeling went into that game," he added of last year's overwhelming win in which Savea scored three tries.