Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Rugby: Saint-Andre sees chance of another upset slip away

For France, a few regrets.

They believe they missed a fantastic opportunity to notch another historic victory over the All Blacks, with errors their undoing. They were the last team to beat the All Blacks at Eden Park - in 1994 - and that's something they are well aware of.

After the match, coach Philippe Saint-Andre - involved in that famous victory 19 years ago which earned his team a series victory - was a picture of disappointment.

"Each time they have a possibility [of scoring] they score," Saint-Andre said of the All Blacks, who were on a slightly different level in terms of efficiency and ruthlessness. "At first I thought we broke [through] them quite a lot, maybe seven times, but we didn't finish enough. At the high level of the game it's the small details."

Saint-Andre said France's set-piece was not as good as expected and couldn't help but lament the mistake by his No 8 Louis Picamoles, who dropped the ball with the All Blacks' line looming in the second half.

"It's a shame because the French team don't have too many opportunities to beat New Zealand in New Zealand."

Yesterday he was a little more positive.

"I am pleased with the attitude of the guys," Saint-Andre said. "They worked hard. Their standards were good. The spirit of the team was good.

"It's not easy to play the All Blacks at Eden Park for the first time.

"We had a lot of position, a lot of opportunity and we lost one try.

"The intensity of the breakdown, we posed some problems for New Zealand. We were good in the contact area. We won a lot of turnover."

France will play Sir John Kirwan's Blues at North Harbour Stadium tomorrow night, and Saint-Andre is likely to introduce new players for the clash, although how many he will want to place at potential risk ahead of Saturday's second test in Christchurch remains to be seen.

- APNZ

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