France coach Jacques Brunel says he believes his fullback Benjamin Fall should have been shown a yellow card rather than a red.

Despite the continued misfortune, Brunel was restrained again tonight – just as he was last weekend at Eden Park when he discussed the dubious yellow card for lock Paul Garillagues and the fractured skull suffered by wing Remy Grosso.

Brunel said he preferred to see the incident involving Fall and Beauden Barrett, whereby the All Black suffered a head injury after falling after contesting a high kick, before commenting in detail, but said his first impression was it was a yellow card offence only.

"I'm not going to talk about the sanction because we need to see the video and see what exactly happened," Brunel said.

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"In any case, he was late and when you're late you're at fault," Brunel said. "Obviously he was somehow put off balance and in that case it was a yellow; a red, I don't know, but the important thing is we were prepared for such a case – playing with only 14. We managed the situation very well."

He might as well have said "below" rather than "late", as the player with the greater height tends to have all the rights to the ball.

Brunel added of his side's response to the red card and their first test loss at Eden Park: "We saw a very good spirit tonight and that was exactly what we wanted to see.

"The team showed a lot of character and fought right to the end. The circumstances were very complicated. Last week the margins seemed a little bit too big but today it was very close or at least closer. There were opportunities that didn't always eventuate. It is clear that we didn't only defend and that was something we wanted to do – we wanted to push the All Blacks.

"We managed to show some character throughout the challenge. We responded well, especially on attack."

Courage in the face of overwhelming odds was a theme supported by skipper Mathieu Bastareaud, who said: "It was a very tough start but we showed some heart and courage. It was something we needed to do… we fought for everything and that was a positive."

Bastareaud added of next week's third and final test in Dunedin: "I am very proud but there is one match to go. We know what we can do. We are French. Sometimes there is this feeling of euphoria but we need to remember this is a defeat and the third match can be tricky. On Monday we need to get back to training with the willingness to win this game in Dunedin.

"As for what I am going to tell the guys – there is no need to do much talking. They are big enough to know. They know what we need to do in order to grow as a team."

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