Lièvremont rues missed chance to repeat history

New Zealand 14 France 10
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The Independent Online

The France coach Marc Lièvremont lamented two lost opportunities, including one that could have been a repeat of the "try from the end of the world" in his side's narrow loss to New Zealand on Saturday.

The defeat meant the French did not emulate the 1994 team, the only French side to beat the All Blacks in a series in New Zealand achieved with a length-of-the-field try in the dying seconds at Eden Park.

On Saturday at Westpac Stadium and trailing 14-10 with time almost up on the clock, a sense of déjà vu swept over the crowd with France's Damien Traille receiving the ball inside his own 22 and with at least 60 metres of open space in front of him.

The centre, however, knocked the ball on, allowing the All Blacks to soak up the seconds, set their scrum as the hooter sounded for full-time then watch replacement scrum-half Piri Weepu kick the ball into touch.

"At the end of the game there was a possibility when we could have scored another try from the end of the world like 1994 but Damien Traille dropped the ball," Lièvremont said.

While a repeat of that Jean-Luc Sadourny try from 1994 was not to be, France had wasted an earlier opportunity to put the match beyond doubt.

The left wing Cedric Heymans, who had scored a dazzling try early in the second half by beating four defenders from 40 metres out, put in a speculative kick ahead. The right wing Vincent Clerc regathered the ball then somehow dropped it in the tackle as he was crossing the line.

A converted try at the time would have given France a 14-11 lead with less than 20 minutes left.

"Once Cedric scored the try we thought that we could win the game but we missed an opportunity," Lièvremont said. "We played with a lot of spirit in the second half but it was not enough."

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