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New Zealand run three tries past France to seal Test series
New Zealand ran in three tries as they cruised past France with a 30-0 victory in Christchurch to clinch the three-Test series with a game to play.
New Zealand ran in three tries as they cruised past France with a 30-0 victory to clinch the three-Test series with a game to play.
Tries from Julian Savea, Ben Smith and Beauden Barrett combined with a fine kicking performance from Aaron Cruden saw the hosts register a comfortable win in Christchurch on Saturday.
The All Blacks took the lead in the fourth minute when Ma'a Nonu stabbed a grubber kick through the French backline which Savea duly collected to touch down the opening try of the match before Cruden added the extras with ease.
France managed to respond as the forward pack worked through the phases before Frederic Michalak squandered a drop-goal attempt from 30 metres.
As the hosts dominated first-half territory France conceded two penalties but Cruden was only able to dissect the uprights on one occasion.
France made brave attempts to infiltrate New Zealand territory but to little avail as the hosts closed the door to enter the interval with a 10-0 advantage.
French continued to press after the break but the All Blacks remained resilient under attack as a Michalak drop-goal effort was charged down by Sam Cane to turn over possession.
New Zealand launched the counter-attack with some swift handling between Cruden, Dane Coles and Savea before winger Smith was set free to race home the second try of the night.
The visitors' indiscretion at the break down continued to prove costly in the second period with Cruden allowed to slot home six points from the kicking tee as New Zealand built an unassailable lead.
Les Bleus continued to work through the phases in an attempt to launch a comeback but they continued to encounter a defiant New Zealand defence who held out for a clean sheet.
The All Blacks rounded off an enjoyable evening with another counter attack as Rene Ranger and Conrad Smith broke from deep within home territory. Smith's kick ahead was successfully gathered by Cruden who neatly offloaded for Barrett to run in his maiden Test try.
Victory means New Zealand take the series honours but Phillipe Saint-Andre will hope his side can restore some pride and claim a consolation victory in New Plymouth next Saturday.