French Left Scoreless with All Black Aerial Bombardment
New skipper Kieran Read has led the All Blacks to victory over France winning the Dave Gallaher Cup and celebrating their 500th Test with a resounding 30-0 full-time score. An astute kicking game laid the groundwork and the All Blacks powered home after an early try to Julian Savea and two crowd-pleasing scores in the second half from Ben Smith and Beauden Barrett. New Zealand’s 378th victory in 500 internationals at Christchurch’s AMI Stadium, which makes them one of the most successful teams in all sports, follows last week’s 23-13 win in Auckland and gives them an unassailable 2-0 lead with a game to spare. “I’m extremely happy,” Read, 27, said. “The effort we put in in defence really showed the character we have got. It’s not easy on a [wet] night like this and the boys really stepped up.” The home team led 10-0 at half-time and added 20 points in the second period, while France, who ran New Zealand close last week, finished scoreless against them for the first time. “Unfortunately we couldn’t score any points tonight. They played very well with great defence,” French captain Thierry Dusautoir said. “We’re hoping to do the maximum to fight back in order to win that one Test. There’s one Test left so we’re going to do the maximum to win.” The renowned flair of the French made them a threat when they had an opportunity to run with the ball, but their opportunities were few as they were continually forced into a defensive game by an All Blacks aerial bombardment. Before a capacity crowd of 21,000 who braved chilly, wet conditions, they were a far more settled unit the second time around against their 2011 World Cup final opponents. Read and Liam Messam lead an effective nullifying of the French strength at the breakdown, and the scrum held its own despite the addition of Nicolas Mas into the French front row. But it was the kicking game, so wayward a week ago, that produced the result as France were kept pinned deep in their own half. The game in Christchurch was captain Read’s 50th Test. The All Blacks play the final match in the series against France in New Plymouth on 22 June.