New Zealand 49-14 France: All Blacks wrap up series 3-0
Last Updated: 23/06/18 12:46pm
Winger Rieko Ioane scored three tries while Damian McKenzie crossed twice in a full display of his attacking abilities as the All Blacks completed a 49-14 victory over France in Dunedin on Saturday that gave them a 3-0 series sweep.
McKenzie's second try early in the second half gave the world champions a 28-14 lead and the breathing space they needed after the French had played the All Blacks at their own high tempo game for the first 45 minutes.
Full-back Ben Smith and replacement flanker Matt Todd also crossed for the All Blacks, who were far more ruthless in the second half where they scored 28 unanswered points.
France scrum-half Baptiste Serin, who replaced captain Morgan Parra early in the match, and the returning Wesley Fofana scored tries for the visitors, who were again impressive but over-ran by a relentless black wave in the final 30 minutes.
However there was more refereeing controversy as McKenzie dashed through a hole in the defence created when Irish referee John Lacey impeded Serin.
France lost the first two Tests, going down 52-11 in the first and 26-13 in the second. Both of those defeats hinged on poor refereeing decisions; a yellow card in the first Test which saw the French crumble after holding the All Blacks to 11-11 after 50 minutes and a red card in the second which cost them a match they should have won.
They were able to paint themselves unlucky again on Saturday when the referee's collision with Serin created a 32nd-minute try for the All Blacks which turned the tide of the match.
France was the better team for most of the first half, going ahead 7-0 with a try to Serin after 12 minutes during which they had almost uninterrupted possession.
They fell behind 14-7 after conceding tries to full-back Ben Smith and replacement flanker Matt Todd but drew level again through centre Wesley Fofana's try.
France seemed to have the All Blacks defence still under pressure until McKenzie's try swung momentum in the home team's favour.
The All Blacks had an attacking scrum which was solid and from which scrum-half Aaron Smith moved the ball swiftly to McKenzie, who darted through a wide gap in the defence.
France's morale flagged after McKenzie's try and it conceded four more tries in a one-sided second half.
The first of those tries went to McKenzie and the last three to Ioane who became a constant threat out wide.
The win was a triumph for a young All Blacks side which contained four new caps, all of whom made their presence felt. Flanker Shannon Frizell had a try on debut wrongly disallowed in the second half and lock Jackson Hemopo, on the field for less than a minute, provided an assist in the first-half try to Todd.
Jack Goodhue made a strong debut at centre and Richie Mo'unga came off the bench late to replace McKenzie at flyhalf.