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Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 00:55 GMT
Upbeat Mitchell hails players
All Blacks coach John Mitchell
Mitchell says his team need to improve their discipline
New Zealand coach John Mitchell heaped praise on his players after seeing his team escape with a 20-20 draw against France.

"They showed great character out there and showed great spirit against a team I believe will be the favourites for the World Cup," he said after the game in Paris.

"There is still work to do but they have performed wonderfully on this tour.


Discipline is a very important part of the game and we didn't do well
All Blacks coach
John Mitchell

"I just hope we finish the job against the Welsh next weekend."

Mitchell was particularly pleased with his side's defence, but less happy with their discipline.

Prop Keith Meeuws, full-back Christian Cullen and centre Mark Robinson were all sin-binned by Australian referee Scott Young.

"Discipline is a very important part of the game and we didn't do well," said Mitchell.

France coach Bernard Laporte said his team missed out on another big scalp by being over-ambitious.

"Our forwards had a magnificent game but the All Blacks taught us once again that one can win a rugby union game without possession of the ball, through good defence, experience and intelligence," he said.

The French, who beat South Africa last week, could have clinched victory had fly-half Francois Gelez kicked one of two penalties in the final few minutes.

"It's frustrating because Francois Gelez missed two penalties he normally would have got," said France manager Jo Maso.

 NOV 16-17 TESTS
 ENGLAND 32-31 AUS
 SCOTLAND 26-6 SA
 IRELAND 64-17 FIJI
 WALES 32-21 CANADA
 FRANCE 20-20 NZ
 ITALY 6-36 ARGENTINA

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