Rugby World Cup 2015: Quarterfinal - New Zealand vs. France
Awesome All Blacks fly into semifinal
PA Sport
October 17, 2015
Date/Time: Oct 17, 2015, 20:00 local, 19:00 GMT
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
France 13 - 62 New Zealand
Attendance: 71619  Half-time: 13 - 29
Tries: Picamoles
Cons: Parra
Pens: Parra, Spedding
Tries: Kaino, Kerr-Barlow 2, Milner-Skudder, Read, Retallick, Savea 3
Cons: Carter 7
Pens: Carter
New Zealand's Julian Savea scores his second try, New Zealand v France, Rugby World Cup, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, October 17, 2015
Julian Savea barges over for his second try of the match, New Zealand's fourth, in a first-half rout of France
© Getty Images

Julian Savea bludgeoned France with a savage hat-trick to book New Zealand a World Cup semifinal with South Africa and evoke memories of Jonah Lomu steamrollering England in 1995.

New Zealand crushed France 62-13 in the biggest-ever World Cup quarter-final victory, Savea every inch "the next Lomu" he has been dubbed since bursting onto the scene in 2012.

Lock Brodie Retallick sparked the nine-try rout and Nehe Milner-Skudder, Jerome Kaino and Kieran Read all crossed, before Tawera Kerr-Barlow stole a late brace in New Zealand's merciless triumph.

New Zealand entered their last-eight clash with France fearing Les Bleus' rumoured mutiny against coach Philippe Saint-Andre was an elaborate ruse designed to spook the All Blacks.

The defending champions were wary of a repeat of their 20-18 World Cup 2007 quarter-final defeat to the same opponents in the same stadium, so arrived in Cardiff with their full-court press.

Captain Richie McCaw was intent on besting his France counterpart Thierry Dusautoir in the back-row at the Millennium Stadium, while the French had Alexandre Dumoulin at outside centre ahead of Mathieu Bastareaud.

New Zealand brimmed with fire, belief and incision straight from the off, Ma'a Nonu thunderous and Conrad Smith incisive.

Dan Carter's ill-judged grubber wasted the first scoring platform, but France were powerless as the hosts produced squeaky-clean ball with ease.

Dusautoir was caught impeding Aaron Smith at the ruck, and Carter duly opened the scoring from the tee to hand New Zealand a 3-0 lead.

Brodie Retallick's cheap handling in a ruck gifted France the chance to level, and Scott Spedding blasted the penalty from fully 55 metres.

New Zealand answer their critics

The towering lock quickly atoned however, charging down Frederic Michalak, collecting the loose ball and cantering home from 30 metres.

Michalak appeared to pull his hamstring as Retallick picked his pocket, and hobbled out, replaced by Remi Tales after just 10 minutes.

Carter slotted the conversion coolly, to push New Zealand's lead to 10-3, but suddenly the French came to life.

Jolted out of their malaise by Michalak's injury, Parra slotted one penalty to cut the deficit to four points -- but then inexplicably missed another just two minutes later.

Parra's glaring shank handed the initiative back to New Zealand on a platter -- an invitation to take control that the reigning world champions were never going to reject.

Dan Carter's piecemeal first half continued as he was charged down by Guilhem Guirado attempting a drop-goal.

New Zealand refused to panic though, Julian Savea recovering and setting up well -- before Nehe Milner-Skudder tore through France's defence to slide in for the second try. Carter converted, and in a flash New Zealand led 17-6.

Carter's reverse offload sent Julian Savea striding in for New Zealand's third try, as the All Blacks continued to punish the off-kilter French.

But just when New Zealand eyed killing the contest even before the break, Louis Picamoles powered over for France.

Savea claimed a brutal second score, bumping off three would-be tacklers, including French powerhouse Noa Nakaitaci, to reassert New Zealand's dominance immediately. The All Blacks' fourth score owed everything to Aaron Smith's superb vision to dance away from the ruck and find Savea with a floating miss-pass.

New Zealand 62-13 France (Video available in Australia only)

Beauden Barrett replaced Milner-Skudder at half-time, the wing suffering a suspected shoulder problem.

France attacked the half with renewed vigour, but New Zealand defended stoutly. Savea's brutal showing continued apace, the 25-year-old even shocking referee Nigel Owens when riding roughshod over Remi Tales. "Ooh my God!" exclaimed Owens as New Zealand's new powerhouse carted up the middle.

Picamoles was then sin-binned for ramming his fist in Richie McCaw's face, with referee Owens ruling there was no punch. The number eight could count himself lucky not to have received red for his indiscretion.

New Zealand took immediate advantage, Jerome Kaino crossing after quick thinking from Savea to claim a loose ball and offload in one delightful swoop.

And when Dane Coles ripped the ball loose, Carter sent Savea racing home for his hat-trick try. Carter's conversion put New Zealand 41-13 to the good.

Kieran Read claimed New Zealand's seventh try just past the hour, France ragged and overwhelmed.

Replacement scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow grabbed the eighth score -- then quickly nipped in for the ninth too, as the match descended into farce.

At the death Nonu raced clear, only to lose the ball attempting to ground for the try.

New Zealand's victory eclipsed the previous largest quarter-final victory at a World Cup, South Africa's 42-14 win over Samoa in 1995.

Where superstar wing Lomu battered England with four tries in New Zealand's 45-29 semi-final procession in 1995, so here Savea simply swatted France aside.

As New Zealand march towards making history by retaining their title, wretched France leave the tournament bedraggled and all-but clueless.

Philippe Saint-Andre's coaching credentials are in tatters as he exits Les Bleus' hotseat, to be replaced by Toulouse's decorated boss Guy Noves.

New Zealand boss Steve Hansen will care little, however, the defending champions flexing their title credentials all over again by coming alive at the tournament.

Nehe Milner-Skudder breaks through the French defence to score his side's second try © Getty Images
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