TEST PREVIEW: All Blacks v France (Paris)

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MATCH DETAILS: All Blacks v France, Saturday 20 November, 9pm CET, (Sunday 9am NZT), Stade de France, Paris.


Played: 61

Won: All Blacks 48, France 12, Drawn 1

Last time: All Blacks 49, France 14 (23 June 2018)

Referee: Wayne Barnes


Coach Ian Foster has made several changes from the 23 which played Ireland last weekend. Dane Coles will start at hooker, with Samisoni Taukei’aho coming onto the bench; George Bower and Ofa Tuungafasi come in as reserve props; Akira Ioane starts at six and Sam Cane at seven; with Shannon Frizell coming onto the bench as loose forward cover. In the backs, Aaron Smith starts at halfback, with Richie Mo’unga at ten.  Quinn Tupaea comes in at 12 to pair up with Rieko Ioane in the midfield, and George Bridge comes in on the left wing.  Brad Weber and Damian McKenzie come onto the bench, joining David Havili as the back reserves. “We’ve had to manage the physical and mental load for the players, so have changed things up a bit for this final Test to maximise the energy within the whole group,” Foster said.


The All Blacks need just two more tries to become the first side in Test match history to score 100 tries in a single season. The previous record of 92 had been held by Argentina since 2003 until the All Blacks broke the mark during their 47-9 victory over Italy in Rome. Will Jordan tops the try-scoring for the side in 2021 with 15 tries, just two tries short of Joe Rokocoko’s record mark of 17 tries set in 2003.


Northern Hemisphere rugby followers have known for some time about the world class ability of halfback Antoine Dupont, and now New Zealand rugby fans get the chance to see the French maestro in action. Regarded by some pundits as the best halfback in the game, Dupont has been nominated for the World Player of the Year award in 2021 and will relish the opportunity to duel with 100-cap All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith who returns to the side for the final Test of the year. Loose forward Sam Cane spoke of Dupont’s threat in the lead-up to the Test. "His speed of delivery is first-class, but he's a constant threat with the ball and, because he's a constant threat, he creates space for others around him because you have got to put so much attention on him defensively,” Cane said.


The Dave Gallaher Trophy will be on the line at Stade de France. The trophy was introduced in 2000 and commemorates Dave Gallaher, who was captain of the famous 1905–06 “Originals” All Blacks and later died in battle at Passchendaele in 1917 during World War One. The All Blacks have held the trophy since 2009. While Stade de France is a stronghold for Les Bleus in the Six Nations, the All Blacks remain unbeaten at the ground with six victories and one draw.


France have lost their last 14 games against the All Blacks – only against Wales have Les Bleus lost more consecutive Tests (15 losses between 1908 and 1927). France’s last home win against the All Blacks was back in November 2000 (42-33).




1. Cyril Baille, 2. Peato Mauvaka, 3. Uini Antonio, 4. Cameron Woki, 5. Paul Willemse, 6. Anthony Jelonch, 7. Francois Cros, 8. Gregory Alldritt, 9. Antoine Dupont, 10. Romain Ntamack, 11. Gabin Villière, 12. Jonathan Danty, 13. Gael Fickou, 14. Damian Penaud, 15. Melvyn Jaminet

Reserves: 16. Gaëtan Barlot, 17. Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18. Demba Bamba, 19. Thibaud Flament, 20. Dylan Cretin, 21. Maxime Lucu, 23. Mathieu Jailbert

All Blacks (caps in brackets):

1. Joe Moody (56) 2. Dane Coles (79) 3. Nepo Laulala (39) 4. Brodie Retallick (91) 5. Samuel Whitelock (131) – captain 6. Akira Ioane (12) 7. Sam Cane (76) 8. Ardie Savea (59) 9. Aaron Smith (101) 10. Richie Mo’unga (31) 11. George Bridge (18) 12. Quinn Tupaea (6) 13. Rieko Ioane (46) 14. Will Jordan (12) 15. Jordie Barrett (35)

Reserves: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (8) 17. George Bower (10) 18. Ofa Tuungafasi (43) 19. Tupou Vaa’i (10) 20. Shannon Frizell (16) 21. Brad Weber (16) 22. Damian McKenzie (39) 23. David Havili (14)


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