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France v New Zealand International Test Preview and Predictions - All Blacks to edge to victory

Gary Emmerson 9 Nov 2017
  • New Zealand haven't lost to France since 2009
  • France haven't beaten the All Blacks in Paris since 1973

New Zealand's All Blacks are favourites to make a winning start to their tour of Europe when they face France in Paris on Saturday.

The All Blacks have an enviable record against most nations and that is the case against France too, with Les Blues having failed to defeat New Zealand since 2009 when they scored a famous win in Dunedin.

But France made the All Blacks sweat last year in Paris, where they have not beaten New Zealand since 1973, when putting up a stern fight before ultimately going down 24-19 to the world's best side.

That was the last game of the year for New Zealand, but this time around it is the opening game of the tour for New Zealand and Steve Hansen has a strong side at his disposal despite the exertions of the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup.

France will gain confidence from New Zealand last two games, a rare defeat to rivals Australia in a dead-rubber in the three-game Bledisloe Cup and a 31-22 win over the Barbarians in which they leaked points - albeit it being a second string All Blacks line-up.

Les Blues must bounce back from three almost indentical scoreline defeats on their tour of South Africa in June, although that was an under strength France squad that faced the Springboks. 

It promises to be an intriguing contest and one the All Blacks will ultimately win, but don't expect it to be a walk in the park.

Team News


France have recalled Mathieu Bastareaud after a two-year absence since his last appearance at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in a 62-13 defeat to New Zealand. Geoffrey Doumayrou, Anthony Belleau, Judicael Cancoriet and Paul Gabrillagues have all been named for the first caps.

New Zealand have opted for Vaea Fifita to replace the ill Liam Squire with Jerome Kaino on his way home after suffering a cruciate ligament injury to his knee. Rieko Ioane has been selected on the wing and Damian McKenzie is named at fullback. Captain Kieran Read, Dane Coles, Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith, Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty are among those coming back into the side having missed the Barbarians game.

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France v New Zealand International Test Preview and Predictions - All Blacks to edge to victory

New Zealand's All Blacks are favourites to make a winning start to their tour of Europe when they face France in Paris on Saturday.

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