All Blacks beat France 14-10 to level test series

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New Zealand produced a vastly improved performance to beat France 14-10 in their second test at Wetspac Stadium today.

Ma'a Nonu scored a try as the All Blacks won the second test to level the series, but France secured the Dave Gallaher Cup for the first time since it was introduced in 2000 by virtue of their five-point win in Dunedin last week.

The visitors had been looking to become the first French side since 1994 to win a series against the All Blacks in New Zealand.

Flyhalf Stephen Donald (two) and Luke McAlister slotted penalties for the All Blacks.

Cedric Heymans scored a brilliant individual try down the left wing, beating four defenders after getting the ball in open space from 40 metres out for France.

Julien Dupuy added the conversion while Dimitri Yachvili slotted a penalty for the visitors.

Both sides failed to execute basic skills with too many handling errors and seeming inability to take the high kicks both teams used when they had a swirling southerly at their backs.

New Zealand, outplayed in a 27-22 loss at Carisbrook last week, produced a better performance at the breakdown and in contact, though Donald's kicking game lacked accuracy.

Several of his high kicks went too far while the little chips and grubbers behind the defensive line were snapped up by French cover.

Donald also missed two penalties and the conversion of Nonu's 26th minute try, which was created off New Zealand's first stable scrum of the game after France demolished the All Blacks front row in the early exchanges.

The settled scrum allowed the loose forwards to make ground and after several phases, Joe Rokocoko was given space on the left and he then held the ball up in the tackle for Nonu looping behind him.

The All Blacks were unlucky not to be awarded a second try three minutes later when Cory Jane went over in the corner, but the television official was unable to determine whether the winger had grounded the ball before being pushed out.

Donald landed his first penalty in the 40th minute to give the home side an 8-0 lead but that was reduced shortly after the break when Heymans produced a scintillating run down the left wing, stepping past four defenders.

Julien Dupuy added the conversion to bring the visitors back into the game.

France produced some desperate goal-line defence on two occasions to stop All Blacks scoring opportunities, though Donald was able to add his second penalty to take the score to 11-7.

Replacements Luke McAlister and Dimitri Yachvili then traded penalties to leave the score 14-10 with 10 minutes remaining.