Five things we learned about All Blacks' first Test match against France

The All Blacks will only get better after a rusty first half against France at Eden Park in Auckland, with the men in black going onto to thump the French 52-11 in their first Test.

1. The bench gives maximum impact

Rugby is, as you know, now a 23-man game. Exhibit A: the All Blacks on June 9, 2018. The French were holding fast at 11-all after 50 minutes.

The duo starred off the bench in the 52-11 win over France at Eden Park. Source: 1 NEWS

Granted, there was a contentious yellow card which dented their hopes, but what about the impact of men like Damian McKenzie, Ngani Laumape and George 'Karl' Tu'inukuafe?

McKenzie ran like the wind, Laumape ran like a bulldozer and the latter, just three months after making his fulltime pro debut on this same ground, melted the French tighthead at his first scrum. Tu’inukuafe has started just two of his 17 games for North Harbour. He might be running out in the No 1 jersey for his province instead of 17 or 18 now.

2. The pack will only get better

The All Blacks came away 52-11 winners in dominant style at Eden Park. Source: 1 NEWS

The signs are ominous for the French. Minus Read, Coles and Retallick – all the best in the world in their respective positions – and with five players underdone, the All Blacks pack will be the better for the run.

Sam Cane gained some priceless minutes, and Liam Squire muscled up with admirable vigour. Codie Taylor and Scott Barrett continued their Crusaders' form. Luke Whitelock was, as ever, industrious. They should all be better for it this weekend.

Barrett shone as the All Blacks swept France 52-11 at Eden Park.
Source: 1 NEWS

3. Beauden Barrett is not bad off his left foot

We know Beauden Barrett has a wide skillset but, while he often uses his left boot, seldom has it been so effective as it was on Saturday night.

Channelling his inner Colin Slade, he ripped off a 40m clearance on his weaker foot, and then uncorked a pinpoint accurate left foot grubber for Codie Taylor to score.

Class. There are those who would have you believe Barrett is not a solid, authoritative test match No 10. Nonsense. His goalkicking radar, while slightly off on some wide-angled conversions, has been accurate most of the season.

4. The intercept try is still in vogue

Despite some over-zealous rulings around the intent of a player going for the intercept, and thus possibly incurring a yellow card, the intercept try is still not out of vogue.

A prime poacher such as Jean de Villiers would have smiled at the fact that there were at least three intercepts at Eden Park, two resulting in tries, to wings Remy Grosso and Rieko Ioane. Jordie Barrett also threw a pass that was intercepted when a try was very much on.

5. Kick at your peril to the back three

The All Blacks coach is confident there's more to come from his side, despite a 52-11 win over France.
Source: 1 NEWS

The All Blacks have an embarrassment of riches in the back three, especially when the in-form Julian Savea cannot even crack the squad.

So what you do not to do is kick down their throat, because they will swing their counter-attack into operation. That much was highlighted in the second spell when a loose French clearance was gathered in centre field and swung right.

Three crisp, swift passes, classic passing to width. Hooker Codie Taylor delivered the last pass to Ben Smith for the try. Text-book, clinical, counter-attacking rugby.

The All Blacks coach is confident there's more to come from his side, despite a 52-11 win over France. Source: 1 NEWS

Jonah Lomu's friends and family only given a few days' notice of his headstone unveiling: reports

Friends and family of the late Jonah Lomu have had to scramble to attend the unveiling of the All Blacks great’s headstone after only being given a few days’ notice, according to reports.

The former All Black's large headstone remains under wraps until an unveiling tomorrow morning.

1 News understands those invited to attend were only given a few days' notice by the rugby great's widow, Nadene Lomu.

Lomu's mother Hepi is reportedly overseas and unable to attend and his brother is concerned his family had no say on the inscription. 

The superstar winger died three years ago aged 40 after a long battle with kidney disease.

He is survived by Nadene and two young sons.    

The former All Black’s large headstone will be unveiled on Monday morning. Source: 1 NEWS



'I'm also gutted that I didn't get to see u after the game' - All Blacks prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi posts heartfelt message to injured Frenchman

All Blacks prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi says he had no intention to injure French winger Remy Grosso during the first Test last night.

Grosso was hospitalised with reported facial fractures suffered in a tackle at Eden Park involving Tu’ungafasi and flanker Sam Cane.

Steve Hansen said New Zealand has always copped criticism from rivals . Source: 1 NEWS

Tu’ungafasi took to Twitter today to wish Grosso well in his recovery while also revealing the Frenchman was not well enough for the All Blacks prop to visit.

Earlier, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen Hansen said the dangerous tackles last night were purely "accidental" after criticism from French coach Jacques Brunel over the tackle.

Steve Hansen said Sam Cane and Ofa Tu'ungafasi's tackle on French winger Remmy Grosso was completely accidental. Source: 1 NEWS

Brunel had said Cane and Tu'ungafasi's tackle on Grosso in the 59th minute should have been a yellow card offence.

Cane hit Grosso's face with a swinging arm, with Tu'ungafasi's shoulder connecting to Grosso's jaw as the French appeared to slip while going into the tackle.

"Look, I can understand that they'll be a little bit miffed when their guy got yellow carded," said Hansen.

French lock Paul Gabrillagues was sin-binned early in the second half for what appeared to be a high tackle on All Blacks midfielder Ryan Crotty, replays showed his tackle was legal and connected with Crotty's shoulder.

"As I said last night, I don't think their guy should have been yellow carded nor do I think Ofa should have been yellow carded either.

"Our game... is really fluid and there is movement in it and when you get two guys coming in to making a tackle on, things can change late."

France's Remy Grosso (C runs into All Blacks Ofa Tu'ungafasi (L) and Sam Cane (R during the Steinlager Series rugby match between the All Blacks and France at the Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday the 9th of June 2018. Copyright Photo by Marty Melville /
France's Remy Grosso was injured in a tackle involving All Blacks Ofa Tu'ungafasi (L) and Sam Cane. Source: Photosport