Sunday, June 21, 2009

#748 ... Sacrebleu

I met two French travellers at the northern end of Lambton Quay ... all dressed up for the rugby test .. they even went to the first test in Dunedin and made sure their itinerary took in the capital for the 2nd test .. they were delighted to be able to show their colours.

THE GAME REPORT (courtesy of TVNZ)
The All Blacks have won the second test but lost the silverware after prevailing 14-10 over France in a titanic rugby arm wrestle in Wellington on Saturday night. An improved New Zealand forward effort proved the difference in a contest spoiled as a spectacle by swirling winds and constant rain.

Both teams scored a try each, including a magical individual try by French winger Cedric Heymans, who brilliantly evaded four defenders, but the All Blacks were deserved winners through creating more chances and winning the all-important territory battle. There was a vast improvement in the physical exchanges that let them down so badly in the 27-22 first test loss at Dunedin last weekend.

Seeking a repeat of the their 2-0 series triumph in New Zealand 15 years ago, France were a danger to snatch it via some unlikely counter-attacking in the second spell that defied the conditions.

Swirling wind played havoc with the tactical kicking game of both teams, along with shots at goal, where France managed just two from six shots and New Zealand three from six. Both sides struggled to string together any expansive play, with All Blacks first five-eighth Stephen Donald enduring an error-prone evening, finding himself replaced in the final quarter by Luke McAlister.

Donald's botched a tricky penalty attempt in the third minute while French second five-eighth Damien Traille narrowly missed a dropped goal attempt soon afterwards as the game quickly descended into a territorial slog.

It wasn't until the 26th minute that either team launched a sustained attack, resulting in a try to All Blacks second five-eighth Ma'a Nonu. Surges from Kaino and hooker Keven Mealamu gained ground before Nonu doubled around winger Joe Rokocoko, who popped a sweet pass in the tackle. They nearly had a second moments later when right winger Cory Jane crashed over in the corner but third match official George Ayoub ruled no try as he couldn't see a grounding.

New Zealand launched several attacking raids but stout France defence produced key turnovers on their own tryline more than once. The All Blacks host Italy in Christchurch on Saturday next week while France cross the Tasman to play Australia in Sydney.

1 comment:

Fi said...

It wasn't great...

But it was a win! I think the nation would have gone into a state of depression if it I hadn't been.