Gallaher Cup - New Zealand v France
France lament missed opportunity
June 9, 2013
Referee Wayne Barnes gives a scrum penalty, New Zealand v France, Gallaher Cup, Eden Park, Auckland, June 8, 2013
France struggled to anticipate Wayne Barnes' instructions at scrum time © Getty Images

New Zealand defeated France in the first Gallaher Cup Test on Saturday, extending to 19 years their winning run against the visitors at Eden Park in Auckland, because they capitalising on their opportunities, Tricolores hooker Dimitri Szarzewski said.

Szarzewski, the most experience France player on the pitch on Saturday, said: "The difference was that we weren't able to score when we were on top. It's a shame. To win against New Zealand, you must convert opportunities. We know against New Zealand, when you lose the ball in the ruck or in contact, every player can make a difference every time."

France had a number of opportunities to seal at least a draw in Auckland, most notably when standout No.8 Louis Picamoles lost the ball cold with the line in sight and no defenders around with 15 minutes to play.

Szarzewski also explained France's roles in the scrumming issues, saying that he and his side had struggled to anticipate when English referee Wayne Barnes would call for the scrum to take place; this resulted in crucial turnover penalties, with either an early engagement or a vastly superior hit from the All Blacks the main repercussions from mistiming their scrum hit. "I think the All Black pack was stronger but we know that the next time it could be different."

France now must win in Christchurch and New Plymouth to reclaim the Gallaher Cup, but Szarzewski said the second Test at AMI Stadium would be a lot more difficult than the first because the hosts would be more match-fit with a game under their belts. "We hope that for the next match we can take up the challenge," he said. "We hope to be competitive with them."

New Zealand won "ugly" in Auckland (video available only in Australia)
© Sportal

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