24 Sep 2011

All Blacks coach laughs off second-string side suggestions

1:33 pm on 24 September 2011

The All Black's coach Graham Henry has laughed off suggestions that France are fielding a second-string side in Saturday night's key World Cup pool match at Eden Park.

The decision by France coach Marc Livremont's to give usual halfback Morgan Parra his first start at first five alongside Dimitri Yachvili at halfback, has sparked suggestions France isn't committed to winning the match which is likely to decide the winner of pool A.

But Henry says there's plenty of experience in the French line-up

France have famously sent the All Blacks out of two World Cups, most recently with their shock 20-18 win in the quarter final victory in Cardiff at the 2007 tournament.

Henry says while there is intense interest in the game because of past Rugby World Cups, the focus for the team is simple in that they will have to match the physicality of the French.

Henry says the French often play their very best rugby against the All Blacks and they can never be underestimated.