16 Jun 2018

Hansen concedes red card mars All Blacks win

11:43 pm on 16 June 2018

The All Blacks have beaten France 26-13 in a second test defined by the contentious early dismissal of visiting fullback Benjamin Fall.

Beauden Barrett

Beauden Barrett Photo: Photosport

A clumsy leap for a high ball by Fall was punished with a 12th-minute red card and sucked the life out of Saturday's contest, helping a rusty New Zealand to clinch the three-test series.

The ruling left the tourists fuming, captain Mathieu Bastareaud pointing out that Fall had eyes for the ball only when he connected with the legs of high-leaping Beauden Barrett.

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen also not a fan of the card, understanding why it was given, but left wondering if there's a better way to deal with those sorts of incidents without killing off the match.

"I'd like a card that's not out-and-out deliberate foul play to be a yellow, with on-report for a red and allow people to stay on the park," Hansen said in his postmatch press conference.

"We talk about the game being a fluid and dynamic game and things change and I think that's a little of what happened tonight. He [Fall] came in to try and catch the ball and Beauds came in over the top of him, jumped higher than him and contributed to it.

"If you were to ask me, I don't think there was any intention for him to hurt Beauden Barrett and when there's no intention it becomes a grey area. At the moment we're trying to treat them as black and white and the game's not black and white," Hansen said post match.

Five-eighth Barrett plunged to the ground head first and didn't return after failing a concussion test.

The classy playmaker was missed as the world champions produced an error-laden display, while France unleashed considerably more resolve than in last week's 52-11 loss in Auckland.

Despite being a player short, the French dominated most facets of the game, including a clear edge in the physical exchanges.

It was glimpses of the All Blacks' attacking class that proved the difference, with fullback Jordie Barrett, younger brother of Beauden, the game's stand-out figure in scoring two of their four tries.

The game swung when Australian referee Angus Gardner produced his red card, saying 29-year-old Fall was "not in a realistic position to contest the ball. I've not got any option".

The All Blacks were in front a minute later when prop Joe Moody loped through a yawning gap.

Winger Ben Smith jinked across for a second and Jordie Barrett completed a sweeping 70m counter-attack on halftime to put his team 21-6 ahead.

Player numbers were evened up late when TJ Perenara was shown a yellow card for a cynical foul.

France won the second half 7-5 courtesy of a try after the hooter to prop Cedate Gomes Sa.

The All Blacks will chase a series sweep and a 14th-straight win over France in next week's third test in Dunedin.