Kieran Read's expectations for Sunday morning's clash with France are brief and simple. The All Blacks skipper wants to see his team play their natural game and play it well.

That's pretty much it. He'll be happy if that happens, because in all likelihood, if the All Blacks play well, they stand a good chance of winning.

The French, more than usual, will be a relatively unknown quantity given the lack of experience they have in key positions.

They are youthful and no doubt they will be exuberant but their lack of exposure to top flight rugby also makes them vulnerable.


Read knows that if the All Blacks look after the ball, are clinical and direct, take their opportunities and make their tackles, they will be making life exceptionally hard for a French team that will be looking to live off mistakes and find ways to build their confidence.

The captain is also aware that his team needs a steadying effort after losing their last test in Brisbane and not having delivered a convincing performance for some time.

"I think the good thing is that you work hard on the things you didn't quite get right when you come off a loss," said Read. "I guess the guys who were involved in Australia [loss to Wallabies in Brisbane] are hurting because they haven't had a shot yet.

"From my point of view, we want to go out there and play really well and put in a performance that we are after.

"We haven't put in an 80-minute performance for a long time - since the middle of the Rugby Championship - so that is what we are trying to achieve."

As to how to achieve that good performance Read is after - he says it comes down to the basics. The French will be typically physical.

They are unlikely to surprise with their approach at the breakdown, set-piece and in the collisions. They will confront and the All Blacks will have to respond.

They will also look to get their offload game going. The All Blacks have obviously done their research because to a man this week they have been keen to point out that the French offload better and more often than any other team in the world.

The All Blacks' tackling will, therefore, have to be low and dynamic to put ball carriers on the floor where they can't offload it.

"We have to front up physically against Northern Hemisphere teams," said Read. "That is a given. From that we have to be able to execute our skills and be able to adapt. The French will put us under pressure in different ways.

"We want to play well. That is our main objective to get out there and put it on the track. You are not necessarily going to score heaps of tries and blow teams off the park, but we have to have a really good attitude. If we do that, I am sure we will do well.

"The guys are excited to be playing against a different team. It is an unknown in terms of some of the personnel. But they have improved over the last couple of years in how they are playing the game so they are certainly showing a lot of their old willingness to throw the ball around and they are the team that makes the most offloads in world rugby.

"Their speed of ruck ball is pretty quick as well."