The All Blacks took their selection risk and having dispatched France with room to spare and been given answers to the test readiness of a few fringe individuals, they will feel they got their reward.

They will also feel that they took a giant step towards playing the sort of rugby they want to take into the Rugby Championship with them.

After a ragged first half where they couldn't get their hands on the ball for long enough and lived off killer strikes, they suddenly clicked after the break.

It was dramatic and impressive how quickly they flicked a switch and were playing at a different speed, with greater fluency and cohesion.


Similar to the first test at Eden Park, they changed their second half fate by subtly being more direct and more willing to patiently stay narrow before throwing the ball wider.

When they got it right, they blew France away and the way they played in the last half hour illustrated the vast attacking potential of this team.

It was a stunning example of pass and catch rugby that had physicality and intent at its core.

The awareness of every player was where it needed to be and the decision-making was excellent.

If they can reproduce that half hour as their stock-in-trade, there is going to be a bit of fear about playing them.

They were simply too fast, too skilled and too clever for a French team that was gallant in the first half but clearly hit the wall as the pace increased.

What were they to do when they scrambled so brilliantly to close down some of the holes, only for the All Blacks to bring Rieko Ioane on to the ball at ferocious pace?

How could they have better defended Damian McKenzie attacking the line the way he did with such pace and intricacy to his angle that he was able to twice score directly off first phase possession without a hand being laid on him?


It was an impossible business for France, who no doubt had hoped that an All Blacks side with four new caps in it, would have been raw, nervous and vulnerable.

Maybe to start with that was the case, as France controlled the game for 40 minutes, even if they ended up behind on the scoreboard.

But the All Blacks' new caps didn't wilt or hide. Shannon Frizell looked a little overawed by the pace in the first half, but he hung in there and became more prominent as the game wore on.

He'll probably stay in the exciting project basket but maybe one to pursue with more vigour once he's got more Super Rugby experience.

Jack Goodhue playing for the All Blacks looked like Jack Goodhue playing for the Crusaders, which is exactly what everyone wanted to see.

Jackson Hemopo brought his physicality and hit hard while Richie Mo'unga dandered into the game with 10 minutes left and looked like he had been in control of it for the previous 70.

He's a young man with exactly the right temperament to thrive in test football and while it was only 10 minutes, it was a hugely encouraging 10 minutes and the All Blacks will feel that they not only won the final test of the series with a storming attacking onslaught, but they finished the series with a deeper pool of talent than when they started.

If there was a final positive for the All Blacks, it was their much improved defensive effort.

They sacrificed some of their linespeed for accuracy and discipline and it worked to some extent. They gave away no needless penalties and just one enforced in the first half.

They also made France work incredibly hard to score. Ideally, they would have made France work incredibly hard not to score, but progress isn't to be knocked.

The last two tests, and for most of 2017, the All Blacks gave away so many penalties it was all too easy for their opponents to pick up points. The All Blacks were the Briscoes of rugby – constantly offering those they played against a great deal.

The sale is over, the All Blacks are no longer the team against whom opponents should expect to be offered a bargain.

New Zealand 49 (B. Smith, M. Todd, D. McKenzie (2), R. Ioane (3), tries; D. McKenzie 7 cons)
France 14 (B. Serin, W. Fofana tries; A Belleau 2 cons)