Monday, October 19, 2015

New Zealand-62 France-13

by Emma McGarry



Stats:
New Zealand France
62 points 13 points
9 tries 1 try
746 metres made 388 metres made
14 clean breaks 7 clean breaks
74 carries over gainline 47 carries over gainline
11 offloads 10 offloads
105 tackles 96 tackles
9 turnovers 6 turnovers

The stats tell the story, New Zealand have found their form after a lacking pool stage. The All Blacks upped it a gear for this quarter-final. No nonsense at this stage of the tournament. It’s do or die for every team. We saw Welsh hearts break earlier in their quarter-final against South Africa. It was not happening to the All Blacks, not a chance.

France looked promising for the first quarter of the match, keeping on New Zealand’s tails from the boot of Michalak who unfortunately hobbled off the pitch with what appeared to be a serious hamstring injury not even 15 minutes into the match. New Zealand took a while to settle into play but once they found their feet they were unstoppable. The All Blacks ran in a fantastic 9 tries against France's wavering defence.

We saw a beautiful try from Milner-Skudder as he waltzed through the French defence after good ball from Ma’a Nonu but Julian Savea was the real star of the match. Likened to the legend Jonah Lomu, he showed incredible power and pace to brush off defenders and score 3 tries, each as brilliant as the next. Some of the big lads made it over the line too, a flash of brilliance from Brodie Retallick saw him block down a french kick and dive over for a try just 10 minutes in.

New Zealand’s scrummaging was again nothing short of perfect, they have the most efficient, solid scrum of the tournament. They haven’t given ball away once at their own put in. Their forwards can pat themselves on the back.

There were a few instances of ill-discipline I felt Nigel Owens dealt with very well. Louis Picamoles received the only yellow card for unnecessary contact with McCaw’s face using his fist (wasn’t actually a punch) . But Owens was quick to note McCaw had been treading a fine line throughout the match, in other words sticking to his trademark offside position and also not releasing the ball. Picamoles’ yellow definitely disrupted play for France, he had been carrying strongly and a well taken, loose ball from terrible pass to Le Roux sent him over the line just before half time. The halftime score was 29 - 13. The All Blacks had pulled away and were out of sight by the 1 hour mark.

Full time score was 62 - 13.

New Zealand go on to face South Africa next weekend. Both teams were treated to a rendition of the Fields of Athenry during the match from Irish supporters. 

As McCaw said in his post-match interview, “We’re happy but all we’ve done is earned another week. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves.”

Emma McGarry (@EmmaKMcGarry) - Hugely interested in all aspects of rugby. Supporter of Irish and Leinster Rugby. "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad" - Brian O'Driscoll

*****

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