All-out effort expected from France

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Lynn McConnell     15 Jun 2018     Getty Images

Looking at All Blacks-French history, he said, you didn't have to look too far back to know how dangerous they could be.


"We're expecting that's the French side we're going to face on Saturday," he said.

The unexpected was still a big factor in the French armoury and while the score in the first Test might look to have blown out, the French were hard to break down and they would have taken a lot from the first 50 minutes, he said.

It would take another good week of preparation to meet their challenge again in the second Test.

Crotty said starting with the same people around him was good for the continuity and to build combinations further.

Centre Anton Lienert-Brown said while having done core jobs well last week there were definitely improvements that could be made. He had been a little disappointed with some aspects of his game and was always working to get better.

But it wasn't just his partnership with Crotty but all five in the midfield working well.

"We connect really well and we work hard during the week to make sure that us as a unit, Crotts and myself and Ngani Laumape this week can go out and put on a good performance," he said.
Lienert-Brown said there had been some things that hadn't clicked early in the first Test but they had adjusted well and in the second half things started to flow better.

Crotty said a factor in their second half performance had been improved discipline. They gave away fewer penalties.

"When we gave them [penalties] away in the first half it allowed them to dictate the flow of the game and the tempo that they wanted to play at and we didn't give them those opportunities and we could play at the tempo we wanted to play at which was obviously at a wee bit of a higher pace.

"In the first half we got a couple of turnover lineouts and were attacking against unstructured defence. Anton put on some nice feet and a good offload and we got a couple of opportunities there. It was nice, everyone had that excitement around our attack.

"We knew it was going to have to be sharp, like I said last week, to break down a really good defence and fortunately some of our skill sets were good enough to create opportunities that we were able to capitalise on," he said.

Lienert-Brown said the All Blacks defence were well aware of the strength of French captain and centre Mathieu Bastareau. It was a case of shutting down his space to prevent him getting his ball carrying and off-loading going.