Life doesn't get any easier for the All Blacks this week in Paris.

They are sore and bruised after a hugely physical encounter with Ireland; they have lost Sam Cane and Ben Smith to injury and they have to face a French side that, as everyone knows, will defy their recent mediocre form and play with a scarcely recognisable passion and intensity.

To compound matters, Patrick Tuipulotu has flown home for personal reasons and then, of course, there is this smouldering business of the All Blacks being the bad boys of world rugby and again having to face accusations they are a brilliant but flawed side that is as much beast as beauty.

That feeling of being under siege from an irate Northern rugby public and media is only going to increase now that Cane and Malakai Fekitoa have both been cited for dangerous tackles in Dublin.


Cane has already been ruled out to play France so if he is suspended, it won't impact the All Blacks' plans. One of either Ardie Savea or Matt Todd will start in the No 7 jersey.

But Fekitoa is a different matter. Ryan Crotty is expected to return to the No 12 jersey this week. And perhaps the plan would have been to field him alongside Fekitoa, who, other than his yellow card, had a strong and imposing game in Dublin.

If he cops a suspension - and the odds are quite high that he will as his high tackle on Simon Zebo was always a candidate to be considered for greater sanction as it did look wild and reckless - then the All Blacks will most likely go with Anton Leinert-Brown at centre.

The youngster has been supremely good this year but the coaches are wary of asking too much of him - of burning him out. He has played more rugby than the coaches planned, but they may not have any choice but to ask him to dig out one last big performance.

Losing Smith to a badly broken finger is possibly the biggest blow of all as he's such a key influence with his composure at the back, decision making and ability to pop up at first receiver.

Footage from Sky. All Blacks pair Sam Cane and Malakai Fekitoa have been cited following these tackles in yesterday's bruising 21-9 win over Ireland in Dublin. Cane clashed with Ireland's Robbie Henshaw and the Leinster midfield back was carried from the field on a stretcher as a result. Fekitoa was sinbinned for a high tackle in the 48th minute when he went in high on Simon Zebo and received a yellow card.

The obvious solution to cover for him is to revert Israel Dagg to his preferred fullback role and use Julian Savea and Waisake Naholo on the wings. That, though, may invite the French to kick - a strength of their game - and the alternative to consider would be using Beauden Barrett at fullback with Dagg and one of Savea and Naholo on the wings with Aaron Cruden at first-five.

That second option is an idea, but probably not the favoured option of the coaching team who will most likely want to keep Barrett at No 10.

Selection, however, might be the least of the coaches' worries as they try to deflect a rising tide of anger about the All Blacks' discipline and also instil in their players the need to strike a better balance between being committed and yet being legal.

Head coach Steve Hansen said he will be in London for a conference anyway on Monday European time and will attend the judicial hearings of the two players in question.

"They are what they are and we can't hide from the fact that particularly Mala's tackle was high, clumsy and high. We will defend Sam's one though: we believe that was a head clash. But we understand why the citing commissioner wants to cite it. The player was knocked out.

"A lot of times we get people reporting on it and playing in the game who are very emotional about it because they are attached to a team or they are part of the team that is playing and they can become emotional."