You did awesome, bro! All Blacks' big guns line up to congratulate 'Baby Blacks' on gutsy win



Associated Press

New Zealand continued its stranglehold over France with a hard-fought 28-23 away win this morning.

Although the match did not hold test match status, it was effectively a 12th straight success over the French and followed Saturday's 38-18 test win. France has not beaten the All Blacks since an away win in 2009 and not at home since 2000.

"You're always disappointed when you lose like this. New Zealand was a level above us technically," France coach Guy Noves said. "I'm happy with what he showed tonight. All the lads are spent. We knew it would be a very hard game."

Flanker Liam Squire and uncapped right winger Matt Duffie scored tries as the All Blacks twice led in the first half.

But right winger Gabriel Lacroix, one of six uncapped players in the France side, scored two of his own as Les Bleus led 15-14 at halftime.

"We all fought for each other out there," Lacroix said. "We have mixed feelings. We didn't win, but it was an encouraging performance."

New Zealand stepped it up after the break, with Patrick Tuipulotu and center Ngani Laumape showing great strength on their tries.

With a little more than 10 minutes left, the home side was given a lifeline when New Zealand center Jack Goodhue was sinbinned for a cynical tackle off the ball as France attacked near the line.

France made the extra man count as flanker Sekou Macalou made a brilliant run down the left and, after he was just tackled just near the line, center Henry Chavancy picked up the loose ball and touched down.

Plisson missed the conversion, leaving New Zealand five points ahead with six minutes to go.

Coach Steve Hansen's side held out in the closing moments.

"There were periods where the French got momentum and they defended their hearts out," Hansen said. "All in all mission accomplished."

Since winning the Rugby World Cup two years ago, New Zealand has lost only three tests and drawn one.

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