Test Preview: All Blacks v France

Getty Images     10 Nov 2017     Getty Images

Matches played: 57
All Blacks won: 44
France won: 12
Draw: 1
Last Match: All Blacks 24, France 19 (November 26, 2016)
Largest All Blacks winning margin: 61-10 (2007)

Match details: All Blacks v France, Sat 12 November, 8.45pm CET (Sun 13 Nov, 8.45am NZT), Stade de France, Paris

It’s a new-look All Blacks side to the one that overcame the Barbarians 31-22 at Twickenham last week. Just 11 players remain from London with a number of senior All Blacks returning to the starting fifteen. In the pack, captain Kieran Read returns and is joined by veterans Dane Coles and Sam Whitelock. In the backline, Aaron Smith is back in the nine jersey while Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty occupy the midfield. For France, the big talking point is the return of blockbusting midfielder Mathieu Bastareuad to the side for the first time in two years. There will also be a touch of the unknown about France with four players set to make their Test debut. 


The All Blacks last took on France one year ago at the same venue, and the result went right down to the wire. 

It will be a clash of contrasting styles in the midfield where the all-round excellence of Sonny Bill Williams lines up against the bull-dozing Mathieu Bastareuad. At 120kg, Bastareuad is an imposing physical specimen and will be looking to make a big impact on his return to the side for the first time in two years. Williams skipped the Barbarians clash and will be raring to secure his place as the first choice second five-eighth for the remainder of the Vista Northern Tour. Expect plenty of direct running from Bastareuad, while Williams will be looking to provide attacking opportunities for his flying outside backs.

The game will be played on the 99th anniversary of Armistice Day. To mark the occasion, the All Blacks will wear the RSA poppy on their sleeve and the Dave Gallaher Trophy will be on the line. Gallaher was the captain of the Original All Blacks who died in battle during World War One. 

The All Blacks are three tries away from scoring a record 2,000 Test tries.

TEAMS (Test caps in brackets)
All Blacks:
 1. Kane Hames (6) 2. Dane Coles (55) 3. Nepo Laulala (10) 4. Luke Romano (29) 5. Samuel Whitelock (93) 6. Vaea Fifita (3) 7. Sam Cane (50) 8. Kieran Read - captain (107) 9. Aaron Smith (68) 10. Beauden Barrett (59) 11. Rieko Ioane (10) 12. Sonny Bill Williams (43) 13. Ryan Crotty (32) 14. Waisake Naholo (15) 15. Damian McKenzie (9)
Reserves: 16. Codie Taylor (26) 17. Wyatt Crockett (68) 18. Ofa Tu'ungafasi (11) 19. Scott Barrett (14) 20. Matt Todd (10) 21. TJ Perenara (39) 22. Lima Sopoaga (13) 23. Anton Lienert-Brown (19)

France: 15: Nans Ducuing 14: Yoann Huget 13: Geoffrey Doumayrou 12: Mathieu Bastareaud, 11: Teddy Thomas, 10: Anthony Belleau, 9: Antoine Dupont, 8: Louis Picamoles, 7: Kevin Gourdon, 6: Judicael Cancoriet, 5: Paul Gabrillagues, 4: Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3: Rabah Slimani, 2: Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1: Jefferson Poirot. 
Reserves: Clement Maynadier, Raphael Chaume, Daniel Kotze, Paul Jedrasiak, Anthony Jelonch, Baptiste Serin, Francois Trinh-Duc, Damian Penaud