The All Blacks are significantly different in personnel to the team that played in Paris 12 months ago, but more importantly, they 'are hoping to produce a performance that is unrecognisable in style and tone.

A year ago the All Blacks were limited in Paris. They kicked more than they usually do, came through the middle close to the ruck and generally gave the impression they were there to get the job done rather than play their preferred, sweeping, counter attack rugby.
It was understandable. It was their 14th test and many of the key players that night had been involved in all or most of them.

The All Blacks, if they are honest, would agree they were mostly reactive and conservative last time round and while they did indeed get the job done, it wasn't a performance they look back on with any great fondness.

There is a collective desire to not let that be the case this time round. The expectation is that All Blacks will look to be both expressive and expansive at Stade de France.


They will look to play their natural game and move the ball to space, play at pace and exploit the French out wide rather than try to run through them.

"There is no point giving the French an indication of how we are going to play but our standard of play is to normally use the football so that is a pretty big clue there," said coach Steve Hansen.

As always responsibility, or much of it at least, for dictating the tempo and points of attack, will fall on Beauden Barrett's shoulders.

He was one of the few, maybe the only All Black, to play at or close to his best in Paris last year. He set up the first try of the game with a perfectly weighted attacking cross kick to Julian Savea and scored the critical try just after half time when he made a timely intercept on his goalline.

His task at Stade de France will be to ensure that the All Blacks take the game to France and come off after 80 minutes feeling their attack game clicked.

That hasn't always been the case this year. In the Lions series the All Blacks were maybe guilty of not playing enough rugby in the first two tests and then not being accurate enough when they did in the third.

Against Australia in the first two Bledisloe Cup tests they certainly didn't lack for ambition but lacked for prolonged periods in each game, the clinical edge and accuracy required at this level.

They were, frankly, a little wild at times, gifting tries to Australia by trying to make too many things happen and making mistakes as a consequence.

But no doubt there have also been games this year when the All Blacks have been lethal. When they get their attack right, they really get it right.

That was the case in the first half of the game against Australia in Sydney. The test was over at half-time as the All Blacks went in to the sheds 42-6 ahead having destroyed Australia with the pace and width of their attack.

It was the same in Albany against the Boks - the All Blacks were untouchable, scoring a record 57-0 win that was testament to their ability to finish every opportunity they created.

And therein lies the equation that the All Blacks have struggled with this year - they haven't been able to successfully balance risk with reward. That's what Barrett wants to get right in Paris. "It is an ongoing work-on and getting that balance is a key part of our game. How we develop as players."