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All Blacks maintain unbeaten run

Second-half tries by Charles Piutau and Kieran Read saw New Zealand finally see off an obdurate France team as the All Blacks maintaining their unbeaten record in 2013 with a 26-19 victory at the Stade de France.

France came into the match on the back of just one victory this year - they beat Scotland eight months ago - and fresh from losing three successive Tests on tour in New Zealand.

However, they matched their visitors all the way in the first half, restricting the All Blacks and not allowing them any space in which to play their vintage game, before the visitors ruthlessly exploited them after the break.

Brice Dulin scored a late try to give the French some hope but they could not force a second score and so New Zealand go to Twickenham for next week's meeting with England in ominous form.

New Zealand produced an onslaught in the opening minutes, spreading the ball wide after a break by Ma'a Nonu which saw Cory Jane score but he had knocked-on in the process.

Despite their dominance, the All Blacks gave away a soft penalty through Brodie Retallick but Morgan Parra's kick from almost 50 metres was not even close.

However, France managed to weather the storm and it was the hosts who took the lead in the 10th minute.

Parra had a simple task of slotting home from in front of the posts and this time he made no mistake.

New Zealand were level two minutes when later when Dan Carter - in his 99th Test - calmly slotted home a penalty from just outside the 22.

Forestier collapsed in the scrum to concede a penalty which Carter slotted over to put the All Blacks ahead.

Parra though restored parity in the 25th minute after the referee called the scrum in favour of France.

Carter then kicked home from 50 yards after the French conceded a penalty at the breakdown on halfway to reclaim the lead for the visitors as both sides displayed all-out attack.

The French drove towards the try-line after Parra had charged the ball down.

Remi Tales was in the thick of the action but Richie McCaw made a series of vital tackles before the French were awarded a penalty, Parra easily slotting over.

The French were driving at New Zealand but they could not puncture the defensive line and they then squandered the chance to go ahead when Parra put a penalty to the left of the posts as the teams reached half-time locked at 9-9.

France made a lively start to the second half and Parra put them back into the lead two minutes in but they returned the favour moments later, Carter kicking over.

And moments later New Zealand illustrated their ruthlessnbess as they exposed a lack of concentration, starting an attack in their own 22.

Piutau latched on to Conrad Smith's kick through to go over for the first try of the day, Carter adding the conversion.

The All Blacks were finding their rhythm, Piutau just failing to ground Ben Smith's ball.

Carter had gone off to be replaced by Cruden who slotted a penalty just to the right of the posts to leave it a one-score game but it was only a matter of time before the All Blacks added to that.

They spread the ball to the left with Piutau running on to the ball, managing to offload under the attention of two Frenchman with Read gleefully going over.

France, though, were soon back in it. Good ball retention led to Tales offloading to Dulin and he went over, Parra firing over the conversion.

The hosts enjoyed a period of pressure and Damien Chouly was agonisingly close to a score, attempting to twist through before being held on his back by two All Blacks.

It came to nothing though when a French hand went into the scrum just yards from the try-line and a penalty was awarded to New Zealand as they sealed victory.


From Belfast Telegraph