Sometimes words to describe big winning margins are overused, but butchered, demolished, annihilated and destroyed are all accurate when describing the All Blacks 62-13 victory over France.
The French certainly did not help themselves towards the latter part of the second half. The game certainly didn’t start that way with France being very competitive but midway in the first half the Kiwis simply upped the gears and started to break the French line with ease.
Brodie Retallick charged down a Michalak kick for the first try after which Milner-Skudder, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read and Tawera Kerr-Barlow (two) also crossed the line. Julian Savea produced a wonderful performance scoring a hatrick of tries, one of which he knocked over three french defenders to get across the whitewash. The comparisons with Jonah Lomu were instantaneous, but I think he might just surpass Lomu and be hailed as the greatest All Black winger by the time the tournament is done.
Coach Hansen was very pleased with Savea’s performance:
“I am very proud of him. He has showed today what he is capable of and that is a combination of Julian himself and a lot of other people who operate within the team that people wouldn’t know, if they walked in here. But they do such a massive job and we are very thankful for that.”
Steve Hansen was equally delighted with his teams performance he added:
“It was a pretty special performance. We could feel it building, as I said earlier in the week when we named our team. There is a difference between pool play and knockout play and obviously knockout rugby creates an edge in itself. If you don’t turn up, you go home.”
“Tonight we turned up and attitude plays a massive part in any sporting event. It certainly showed tonight. When you couple attitude with talent, you can do certain things.”
On this outing the All Blacks will have too much for the Springboks and I expect New Zealand to be competing at Twickenham on October 31st, however the Kiwis coaching staff and players know it will not be an easy task and they will face a tough challenge. Hansen said “We need to get to Saturday well prepared, both physically and mentally. We will be playing against one of the best teams in the world. Already I am looking forward to it because there is a special relationship with that group that goes way back before my time. They have been the team that New Zealand have had the greatest challenges with for many, many, many years.”