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Test preview: We need to see more from the All Blacks or France may win a famous victory


This series is proving a nightmare for the predictions of pundits.

With a Highlanders injection and new starting first-five, the team is looking to show off its depth. Source: 1 NEWS

Who knows when the next card will hit to rock the contest, or which French side will turn up or which All Blacks side won't turn up?

Now we don't even know much about the All Blacks' 23 for Dunedin, in the sense that they have two starting Test debutants (Jack Goodhue and Shannon Frizell), two more potential debutants off the pine (Jackson Hemopo and Richie Mo'unga), an underdone Sonny Bill Williams, a first five still finding his feet running the cutter and a pack that was bested in Wellington.

Some of Steve Hansen's selections have clearly been made with the home crowd in mind, though wing Waisake Naholo should have received a run before now. Frizell deserves a chance to show if he can cut it at Test level. But most importantly, the All Blacks' pack, with an unchanged tight five, will be charged with exerting dominance at set-piece and in the collisions.

Frizell is set to debut for the All Blacks in Dunedin for the final Test against France on Saturday. Source: 1 NEWS

Ardie Savea will help in this area, after Sam Cane was off the pace in the capital. It was perhaps no coincidence that Savea's first Test entry ran parallel with the All Blacks' best period of play in the series.

The heat will, naturally, also go on Damian McKenzie to show his wares as a Test No 10 from the get-go. He has the ability, and should benefit from having Luke Whitelock, Aaron Smith and Sonny Bill Williams around him for guidance and comfort. But his tactical acumen will need to be on point if the All Blacks are to take control of this Test.

As for the French, they have changed out their midfield, introducing Wesley Fofana and Remi Lamerat. On the face of it, only the French would drop their captain - Mathieu Bastareaud - when he has not played badly at all.

In fact, he was strong on the tackle and distributed well in the first two Tests. But his forte is rumbling through and over the opposition and we have seen precious little of his best bowling ball impersonation. In Fofana and Lamerat, France may have the combination to unlock their latent attacking potential.

Tellingly, they are unchanged in the pack, and the loose trio of Kevin Gourdon, Kelian Galletier and Mathieu Babillot will be amped to repeat their heroics from Wellington.

The heart tells me the All Blacks should win, if narrowly, if for no other reason than that they are at home. But we need to see more from them in the pack exchanges and in their backline cohesion, or France may win a famous victory.