Key Battles: New Zealand v France

Key Battles: New Zealand v France

With the first test done and dusted, France will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 52-11 loss at the hands of a potent and ruthless All Blacks side. 


France head coach Jacques Brunel has made a number of changes to his side that could do the trick, while Steve Hansen has understandably named an unchanged lineup for the clash.

The Breakdown

The All Blacks rely on quick ball at the breakdown in order to slice through defences and they were able to do just that in the second half at Eden Park last weekend.

France will need to slow the ball down in that area of the game if they hope to tie up the series and Brunel has made a number of changes to his pack that could help his side do just that.

Five of the eight forwards have retained their spots in the starting lineup with Racing 92 flanker Bernard Le Roux now packing down at lock, France do have more threats at the breakdown than in the first test.

The Impact of the Bench

The All Blacks ran riot in the final 20 minutes of the first test and could do the same in second if France's bench isn't able to match their intensity. 

France's bench does look a bit different with Pierre Bourgarit and Cedate Gomes Sa being added to the side, while Maxime Medard and Paul Gabrillagues drop out of the starting lineup.

La Rochelle hooker Bourgarit is an exciting talent that will look to make his mark on his debut. France's biggest challenge will be keeping their discipline on defence for 80 minutes.

The Scrumhalves

Morgan Parra will be key to France levelling the series if he is able to control the game along with Anthony Belleau. 

Parra will need his kicking and passing game to be on point if he is too get France out of trouble and kick-start their attack. 

Aaron Smith will be looking to ignite the All Black attack and as mentioned before a lot will depend on the breakdown. 

If Parra has an off game Belleau will struggle while the same might not apply to the more experienced Barrett.

Discipline 

Following the controversy of the first test, Angus Gardner and his team of officials will be under the spotlight and will likely have a strict control over the second test.

High tackles or any dangerous play will likely be punished harshly and will influence the result of the test. 

France will need to keep all 15 players on the pitch if they want a hope of levelling the series as the All Blacks will take advantage of any opportunities that come their way. 

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