New Zealand ease past 14-man France to seal series

Ben Smith scored a try for New Zealand
Ben Smith scored a try for New Zealand

New Zealand 26-13 France, Westpac Stadium

Jordie Barrett impressed with a double as New Zealand eased past a 14-man France with a 26-13 victory in the second Test at Westpac Stadium to complete a 2-0 series victory.

Even though Morgan Parra kicked an 11th-minute penalty goal to begin the proceedings, France suffered a major setback a minute later when Benjamin Hall was sent-off for a dangerous tackle on fly-half Beauden Barrett in the air as the visitors were reduced to 14-men.

Having an extra player, New Zealand looked dangerous when Joe Moody (13') and Ben Smith (20') touched down and Damian McKenzie, who took over from Beauden slotted both the conversions to take the scoreline to 14-3.

Parra with his second penalty kick reduced the gap to eight points but Jordie Barrett crossed over in the 40th minute followed by a conversion from McKenzie as Steve Hansen's men went into the break with a lead of 21-6.

It took All Blacks 16 minutes in the second half to get off the block and it was Jordie once again went past the line as their lead stretched to 20 points. Even though New Zealand lost TJ Perenara to sin-bin in the 63rd minute, France could manage only a consolation try by Cedate Gomes Sa in the final minute as they succumbed to a 26-13 defeat.

"It's always a shame when someone gets red-carded, particularly for an offence that is not really intentional," said New Zealand coach Steve Hansen.

"It was a challenge and Fall got it wrong. The referee had to red-card him because that's what the rules say but it does spoil the game.

"I don't think there was any intention for him to hurt Beauden Barrett. And when there's no intention it becomes a grey area - the game is not black and white."

The two teams will meet for the final time this season in Dunedin on 23rd June.

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