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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 June 2007, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
New Zealand 42-11 France
Aaron Mauger is congratulated by captain Richie McCaw after his first try
Mauger scored two well-worked tries for his dominant team

New Zealand 42 (20)
Tries: Mauger 2, Sivivatu 2, So'oialo
Cons: Carter, Weepu, Evans 2
Pens: Carter, Weepu, Evans

France 11 (3)
Try: Coux
Pen: Boyet 2

Aaron Mauger and Sitiveni Sivivatu scored two tries each as World Cup favourites New Zealand began the season with a comfortable win over France.

Joe Rokocoko helped set up Mauger for the first and Sivivatu added a second before the break after a chip-through.

Sivivatu scored again off a close-range scrum on 55 minutes before France, deprived of a host of top players, crossed through Jean-Francois Coux.

But Mauger and Rodney So'oialo added late tries for the All Blacks.

It was just the start to their World Cup build-up that the hosts needed and they were never seriously troubled by a French side missing most of their leading players because of championship play-offs back home.


New Zealand, who were turned over a handful of times during a rusty first 40 minutes, also got the benefit of the doubt in most of Stuart Dickinson's decisions.

The Australian referee twice missed knock-ons before awarding penalties which Dan Carter and Piri Weepu, close to the touchline while Carter was nursing an ankle problem, kicked over.

France battled and tackled hard but were starved of possession and struggled at the scrum, with Sebastien Chabal particularly error-ridden, but Boyet cut the deficit when a fussy Dickinson penalised the All Blacks for not rolling away.

Gradually, the All Blacks took a grip of the game and a delightful short pass from Carter in the 29th minute set up Rokocoko to power away and the ball was worked via Isaia Toeava to Mauger, who crossed under the posts.

Sitiveni Sivivatu
Elusive winger Sivivatu was a real handful for France

The visitors were stunned four minutes before the break when Carter chipped forward and Sivivatu just beat Thomas Castaignede to the ball. He did not appear to get enough downward pressure but the try was given anyway.

Carter and captain Richie McCaw, suffering from a bruised hip, did not appear for the second half but, if anything, the All Blacks grew in confidence.

Carter's replacement Nick Evans traded penalties with Boyet before Chris Masoe and Sivivatu created try-scoring opportunities which went begging.

Boyet was dispatched to the sin-bin for 10 minutes after tackling while off-side as New Zealand piled on the pressure.

A try had to come and after the video referee ruled against Toeava following a delicate kick from Evans, the All Blacks got their third.

Again, there was an element of luck about it as Evans appeared to tip the ball forward following a scrum to Sivivatu, who dived over for his second score.

Nothing was going right for the French until Jean-Francois Coux got on the end of a kick from Olivier Magne and crossed in the corner.

It's obvious the All Blacks are favourites for the World Cup but just because you start a Grand Prix in pole position doesn't mean you are going to win

France coach Bernard Laporte

But it was only temporary respite and their flat defence was torn asunder by a scything move which ended with Mauger racing through under the posts.

And the French were well beaten by the time So'oialo squirted through to complete a comprehensive triumph.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry said neither Carter nor McCaw's injuries were serious and expects more from his team in the coming months.

"I thought the French played with a lot of spirit. They showed a lot of guts and a lot of heart," he said.

"As individuals, I thought our guys played pretty well and as a team, we got better as the game went on.

"We've got a lot to work on as a team, it was our first run together for six months, but it was an improving performance."

Opposite number Bernard Laporte admitted his team had been outgunned but insisted there was hope for New Zealand's World Cup rivals.

"I have no complaints about the way my young side stood up to the All Blacks," Laporte said.

"It's obvious the All Blacks are favourites for the World Cup, they have the best players in many positions.

"But just because you start a Grand Prix in pole position doesn't mean you are going to win."

New Zealand: Leon MacDonald, Joe Rokocoko, Isaia Toeava, Aaron Mauger, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Dan Carter, Piri Weepu, Tony Woodcock, Kevin Mealamu, Carl Hayman, Chris Jack, Ali Williams, Reuben Thorne, Richie McCaw (capt), Chris Masoe.
Replacements: Andrew Hore, Neemia Tialata, Troy Flavell, Rodney So'oialo, Brendon Leonard, Nick Evans, Ma'a Nonu.

France: Thomas Castaignede, Jean-Francois Coux, Arnaud Mignardi, Jean-Phillipe Grandclaude, Benjamin Thierry, Benjamin Boyet, Nicolas Durand, Christian Califano, Sebastien Bruno, Nicolas Mas, Pascal Pape (capt), Julien Pierre, Gregory Le Corvec, Olivier Magne, Sebastien Chabal.
Replacements: Raphael Ibanez, Franck Montanella, Olivier Olibeau, Damien Chouly, Michael Forest, Nicolas Laharrague, Ludovic Valbon.

Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)

Att: 41,500

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