Cooper warns France: Don't target individual All Blacks

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    24 Nov 2016     Getty Images

"Many teams think that by targeting Kieran Read, Aaron Smith or Beauden Barrett they will upset the continuity of the All Blacks," Cooper said.

"But the X factor, where the All Blacks are concerned is not this or that player, it is the team, the organisation of the collective, whoever is named in the side.

"The All Blacks culture is not based on one player. The New Zealanders have long understood that they should not depend on one player," Cooper told

The players come into the side and adapt to the overall system. If France aim at breaking that unity to win they will be wasting their time and will suffer the consequences, he said.

Ireland had set an example of how to beat the All Blacks, but after being dominated at the rucks by David Pocock and put under pressure by the Australians last week in man-on-man contests, France did not suggest they were likely to emulate the Irish.

But if there was one team capable of worrying the All Blacks with their ability to surprise it was France.

"France has players, especially in the three-quarters, of incredible talent but their challenge will be to maintain collective unity for 80 minutes. If attacks become messy after the 60-minute mark the All Blacks will punish each turnover," he said.

"You don't just beat the All Blacks with a game plan these days. You first have to be technically perfect," he said.

An example of that was in kicking downfield. While fullback Ben Smith would be out with a broken finger, Israel Dagg and Julian Savea were both comfortable under the high ball. France had paid the price in this area in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final last year.

It would be the same with kicking defensively and the French would have to be flawless, Cooper said.