All Blacks stutter to series sweep

New Zealand are not at their best against France as they claim 24-9 win and a clean sweep of three- test series.

    All Blacks stutter to series sweep
    Beauden Barrett's try gave New Zealand a flattering scoreline in third test against France [GALLO/GETTY]

    The All Blacks clung on in an error-riddled performance to clinch a 24-9 victory over France in Wellington on Saturday to complete a clean sweep of the three-test series.

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

    Steve Hansen, All Blacks coach

    "It wasn't our best," All Blacks coach Steve Hansen understated after the final whistle as he reviewed how is new intergrated 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."

    French fright

    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.

    The All Blacks wings Smith and Rene Ranger, who always threatened with the ball in hand, were too often stranded in open space as a mixture of dropped passes denied them possession.

    France had an edge in the scrums, where props Dominic Mas and Thomas Domingo both won penalties as they buckled the All Blacks eight, and easily read the All Blacks formula of using heavyweight forwards to batter a route up the middle.

    Saint-Andre was also be satisfied with the work of backrower Antonie Claassen and halves Jean-Marc Doussain and Remi Tales.

    The crucial 8-9-10 triumvirate started with only six tests between them yet were among the stars of the French side and held their own against Kieran Read, Piri Weepu and Dan Carter with a combined total of 214 tests.

    France gave the All Blacks a fright in the opening play when a Carter clearing kick was charged down but the opportunity to attack from close range went begging when the French backs were caught offside.

    While they could not crack the All Blacks defence with their sustained early pressure they scored first from the Fritz drop goal.

    The All Blacks levelled with the first Carter penalty and five minutes before the break they took the lead for the first time when Smith scored in a frantic Tales tackle.

    France immediately struck back with a Doussain penalty, his first success in three attempts and the All Blacks went into half-time with a slender 8-6 lead.

    Doussain landed a third penalty immediately after the break for France to regain the lead before the All Blacks slowly started to gain the upper hand.

    Carter slammed over three more penalties, the last of them from 46 metres when Yoann Maestri was yellow carded for a ruck indiscretion, and converted the Barrett try to close the match.



    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.