The All Blacks got their three test series against France off to a strong start with a 52-11 victory at Eden Park last weekend, but you could be forgiven for thinking it was all one-way traffic simply by looking at the final margin.

It was a tale of two teams for the All Blacks, who made a startling change in personnel whilst in the sheds at half-time to bounce back from an 8-11 deficit at the interval to claim victory.

New Zealand took some time to shake off the rust that comes with a six-month break between Tests, and their first half form certainly left plenty to be desired as Les Bleus took an unlikely lead to the break.

The French side outclassed their Kiwi rivals in almost all facets in the opening half of the game. The visitors made more tackles and missed fewer than the hosts, led them 8-5 in clean breaks, 11-7 in defenders beaten, and 9-6 in offloads for the opening 40 minutes.


The All Blacks certainly made it all the harder for themselves, conceding five more penalties in the first half than they did in the second as well as conceding nine turnovers in the opening stanza.

In the second half, we saw more of what we've become accustomed to when it comes to the dominance of the All Blacks.

New Zealand made more than twice as many clean breaks and defenders beaten in the second half as they did in the first, missed just five tackles, and gained twice as many metres despite making fewer carries. All in all, they ran in seven unanswered tries to run away with what was initially a tightly contested game.

Now the second game of the series looms large on the horizon, and New Zealand will be hoping they don't make things difficult for themselves again with another slow start.

They can take plenty from their second half performance, though, including the fact that they kept Les Bleus scoreless in the second stanza for the second time in their last four games against them, and have now kept them to fewer than 20 points overall in each of their previous 12 meetings.

The second Test of this series will take place at Westpac Stadium, where the All Blacks' last fixture saw them pipped at the post by the British and Irish Lions to the tune of a 24-21 defeat almost a year ago.

Prior to that, New Zealand had won 16 on the bounce at the venue including wins against France in 2007 and 2009.

Now the Kiwis will be looking to avoid consecutive defeats at the venue for the first time in their Test history there.

- Opta Stats