Sportal.co.nz 08.Nov.2013Getty Images
HEAD TO HEAD: Played: 54, France 12, New Zealand 41
LAST TIME: New Zealand 24 def France 9, June 22, 2013, at Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
WALKING WOUNDED: Back in the side after being rested for the tour of New Zealand in June are halfback Morgan Parra, prop Yannick Forestier and flanker Wenceslas Lauret. New Zealand has wing Cory Jane back after nearly a year out with injury while Charles Piutau is named on the wing after illness denied Julian Savea his chance to prepare with the side during the week. Owen Franks returns to the side after recovering from injury as well. The side has been bolstered from that which played Japan at the weekend by the inclusion of fullback Israel Dagg, second five-eighths Ma'a Nonu, No.8 Kieran Read, flanker Liam Messam, lock Sam Whitelock and prop Tony Woodcock.
FORM: France have the advantage of freshness this time around after having made their three-Test tour of New Zealand at the end of a long season. New Zealand is in that situation now. But for France it is a chance to reunite some of the more experienced hands who were rested from the tour with those who advanced their prospects in New Zealand. The inside-back pairing of Parra and Tales is the ninth different unit Saint-Andre has employed in his tenure but Parra will be a significant factor in the hinge role for his side. Prop Nicolas Mas has the potential to cause problems in the front row while lock Pascal Pape is an immense presence at lock. And the dangerous midfield pair of Wesley Fofana and Florian Fritz have the potential to cause concerns, especially when combined with the dangerous running of wing Maxime Medard. New Zealand have impressive experience to call on and that will ensure healthy respect for the ability of the French to upset. The scrummaging will be an intriguing element as New Zealand get a first exposure to how the northern hemisphere countries have adapted to the new laws. Another terrific contest in the loose can be anticipated with Thierry Dusautoir consistently a top performer against Richie McCaw and Kieran Reid.
WE THINK: Quality of ball won will have a significant effect on the outcome of this contest between two old rivals. France will look to deny New Zealand ball at the speed which allows the All Blacks to be their most efficient. So the breakdown will be a factor, and so too will be lineouts where both All Blacks locks Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick have shown extra dimensions to their games that could prove significant. The All Blacks defence will come under scrutiny, especially from France's mid-field so communication will be vital in what is certain to be a noisy environment in Paris. However, the home team may struggle for the sort of consistent possession needed to pressure the All Blacks. We pick All Blacks by 8.
France: 1.Yannick Forestier, 2.Benjamin Kayser, 3.Nicolas Mas, 4.Pascal Pape, 5.Yoann Maestri, 6.Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 7.Wenceslas Lauret, 8.Damien Chouly, 9.Morgan Parra, 10.Remi Tales, 11.Maxime Medard, 12.Wesley Fofana, 13.Florian Fritz, 14.Yoann Huget, 15.Brice Dulin.
Reserves: 16.Dimitri Szarzewski, 17.Vincent Debaty, 18.Rabah Slimani, 19.Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20.Antonie Claassen, 21.Jean-Marc Doussain, 22.Camille Lopez, 23.Gael Fickou.
New Zealand: 1.Tony Woodcock, 2.Keven Mealamu, 3.Owen Franks, 4. Brodie Retallick, 5.Sam Whitelock, 6. Liam Messam, 7.Richie McCaw (captain), 8.Kieran Read, 9.Aaron Smith, 10.Dan Carter, 11.Charles Piutau, 12.Ma'a Nonu, 13.Ben Smith, 14.Cory Jane, 15.Israel Dagg.
Reserves: 16.Dane Coles, 17.Wyatt Crockett, 18.Charlie Faumuina, 19.Steve Luatua, 20.Sam Cane, 21.Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22.Aaron Cruden, 23.Ryan Crotty.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
2013 Air New Zealand European tour - All Blacks Captains Run Paris 9221 views