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Saturday, June 26, 1999 Published at 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK

Sport: Rugby Union

All Blacks destroy France

Emile Ntamack gets away but it was a rare break

New Zealand 54-7 France

The All Blacks scored seven tries as the tourists were mauled at Wellington's Athletic Park.

Tana Umaga scored three tries and Christian Cullen and Justin Marshall crossed for two each, as Andrew Mehrtens kicked the other 19 points.

France managed a single try through new fly-half Ugo Mola.

But they were no match for opponents who continually brought their exciting backs, particularly wingers Umaga and Cullen, into play.

Playing in windy conditions, the All Blacks scored three tries in the first half.

They led 30-0 at the interval after fly-half Mehrtens' effective long diagonal kicks repeatedly turned the French around.

French worn down

New Zealand's forwards showed much improvement from last season when they lost five successive Tests.

Front rowers Kees Meeuws, Anton Oliver and Carl Hoeft, the Otago Highlanders combination, wore down the French.

Locks Robin Brooke and Norm Maxwell cleaned out the rucks well, and the loose forwards, led by captain Taine Randell and Josh Kronfeld, provided efficient support.

Scrum-half Marshall, criticised for his slow clearance in recent matches, was one of the stars of the farewell game for the stadium which is replaced by another next season.

France have followed their disastrous Five Nations championship with defeats to Tonga and New Zealand A on this short tour although they did beat Samoa.

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