'They've created some heartache' - Steve Hansen wary of French upset




All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has tapped into the French rugby psyche and he doesn't like what he sees on the eve of their tour-opening Test in Paris.

The All Blacks coach isn't taking anything for granted against an inexperienced France.
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The old cliche of unpredictable France has genuine merit, Hansen says, believing Les Bleus have an ability to play above themselves that no international team can match.

The key is whether the hosts have found a cause to unite them tomorrow, as has been the case in famous wins over the All Blacks.

Those sort of upsets are becoming less frequent in the stone-cold professional age.

"They definitely need big emotional value in whatever they're doing," Hansen said.

"They're a side, more so than anyone else, when they decide to get up against whoever they're playing, they've got the talent and the ability to make you look silly.

"They've created some heartache along the way."

The current All Blacks are on their longest winning streak against France since a 2009 boilover in Dunedin.

Throwing uncertainty over this week's encounter is the naming of a raw French side that features six new caps and two young halves who are both making their first Test start.

The All Blacks have lost a number of big names to cashed-up French teams.
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Hansen believes such a selection could go either way.

Because it's France, he won't take anything for granted.

"Their squad's pretty talented, I know that," he said.

"That's the French way of life. It's cool when it's cool and, 'oh well c'est la vie', when it's not.

"You'd be frustrated if you're one of their fans because you start to build a dream and then wham, where did that go?"

One possible French focus could be the game being played on the 99th anniversary of Armistice Day.

New Zealand have lost twice to France on that date, in 1977 and 1995, in Toulouse on both occasions.

The All Blacks coach has named a near unchanged side from the Brisbane defeat.
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France also lifted for a famous win at Eden Park on Bastille Day in 1979.

To mark the occasion, the All Blacks will wear the RSA poppy on their sleeve and the Dave Gallaher Trophy will be on the line.

Gallaher, the captain of the Original All Blacks, was killed during the Battle of Passchendaele during World War I.

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