Rugby Union: Umaga looks awesome for All Blacks

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The Independent Online
NEW ZEALAND'S All Blacks overwhelmed and outclassed France to drive home a 54-7 victory at Athletic Park, Wellington, on Saturday in a one-off Test.

The All Blacks, playing with the benefit of a strong wind in the first half, put up an almost unassailable 30-0 lead by half-time. Early in the second half the French stand-off Hugo Mola finally opened the account with a simple interception try converted by Thomas Castaignede, but apart from occasional flashes of skill it was New Zealand's game.

Just before full-time the replacement French hooker Jean-Jacques Crenca was sent off for stamping. He has been suspended for six weeks.

The All Black stand-off Andrew Mehrtens was accurate with his boot and the wing Christian Cullen got a confidence-raising try early on. But it was the opposite wing, Tana Umaga, who excelled with three tries after being preferred to Jonah Lomu.

New Zealand: Tries Umaga 3, Cullen 2, Marshall 2; Penalties Mehrtens 3; Goals Mehrtens 5. France: Try Mola; Goal Castaignede.

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