Once again New Zealand were made to work very hard to get the better of France at Eden Park, winning 23-13 in an entertaining clash on Saturday.
In the first game between these sides since the 2011 World Cup Final at the same venue, the All Blacks outscored their visitors two tries to one but were pushed all the way by a French side showing a marked improvement on their woeful Six Nations campaign.
New Zealand led 17-10 at the interval thanks to tries from Aaron Smith and Sam Cane after France had taken the early lead via a Wesley Fofana score.
There was very little to choose between the old rivals but a series of scrum penalties against France proved influential as they killed off a number of promising attacking opportunities for Philippe Saint-André’s men.
The result sees the All Blacks take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series but with the tourists set to be reinforced by players who took part in the recent Top 14 Final, the next fortnight promises to be intriguing.
For New Zealand:
Tries: A. Smith, Cane
Cons: Cruden 2
Pens: Cruden 3
Pens: Machenaud, Lopez
BY: PLANET RUGBY