Henry hails 'special' victory for All Blacks

France 12 New Zealand 39
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The Independent Online

New Zealand completed their four-Test tour of Europe without conceding a try, finishing off with an emphatic win over France in Marseilles on Saturday.

A rampant All Blacks wearing white jerseys to avoid a colour clash scored five – shared by Sitiveni Sivivatu, Mils Muliaina, Jerome Kaino, Cory Jane and Conrad Smith – in their best display of a mediocre year, and shut out the French in the second half. "It was a great game with two teams wanting to attack," the All Blacks coach, Graham Henry, said. "It was really good to see two teams wanting to play attacking rugby football. That victory is a special one. We've had a challenging year and we won the last six games. I'm delighted by the players' performance, they can now enjoy the summer."

New Zealand still have to play the Barbarians this weekend at Twickenham, but they cherished another humiliation of France on their home soil. The French still have not beaten the All Blacks in France for nine years.

Dan Carter collected 14 points and the man of the match award, and Richie McCaw afterwards became the International Player of the Year, becoming the first person to earn it twice since the award began in 2001.

The France captain, Thierry Dusautoir, didn't try to hide his disappointment after his side was humbled following wins over South Africa and Samoa. "We were not able to contest their rucks," Dusautoir said. "We lost the rucks battle, we didn't manage to play aggressively and were quicker on the ball. If we had the answer to avoid this kind of setback, we would be a great nation of rugby."

The France coach, Marc Lièvremont, said: "It's a big disappointment but don't forget all the work that has been done. I'm still very confident about this group and there is room for improvement ahead of the Six Nations."

*Italy ended a 13-match losing run by beating Samoa 24-6 on Saturday. The Azzurri had not won since June last year against Argentina. The Italians scored two tries. Luke McLean went over in the first half, and in the last minute referee Christophe Berdos awarded a penalty try after Samoa continued to infringe at scrums on its line.

France: Penalties Dupuy 3; Drop goal Trinh-Duc. New Zealand: Tries: Sivivatu, Muliaina, Kaino, Jane, C Smith; Conversions Carter 4; Penalties Carter 2.

France: Traille; Clerc, Marty, Jauzion (David, 63), Medard; Trinh-Duc, Dupuy (Parra, 59); Barcella, Servat (Szarzewski, 47), Marconnet (Mas, 51), Chabal (Nallet, 52), Millo-Chluski, Dusautoir, Ouedraogo (Puricelli, 63), Bonnaire.

New Zealand: Muliaina; Jane, Conrad Smith, Nonu (McAlister 71), Sivivatu; Carter (Donald, 77), Cowan (Ellis, 75); Woodcock, Hore (Flynn, 74), Tialata (Boric, 65), Thorn (Franks, 65), Donnelly, Kaino, McCaw, Read.

Referee: A Rowlands (Ireland).