Brothers Beauden, Jordie and Scott Barrett made history simply by taking the field for the All Blacks in their first of three Tests against France yesterday, with New Zealand running rampant in the second half to win 52-11.
Fly-half Beauden, full-back Jordie and lock Scott were the first trio of brothers to be named in an All Blacks starting XV for a Test match and made a large collective contribution as New Zealand extended their winning streak at Eden Park to 41 Tests over 24 years. They last lost at the Auckland stadium to France in 1994.
The Barrett brothers’ headline moment came when all three handled in a first-half try to Beauden Barrett. Scott handed off a short pass to Jordie in midfield and, after the involvement of Ryan Crotty and Anton Lienert-Brown, Beauden scored in the left corner.
That score allowed New Zealand to counter an early try by France winger Remy Grosso. France took an 11-8 lead to half-time but were destroyed after the interval.
The Barretts surrendered the spotlight as the All Blacks scored seven tries and 44 unanswered points. The headliners in the second half were: winger Rieko Ioane with two tries; hooker Codie Taylor, who scored a try and provided the last pass in two others; and replacement full-back Damian McKenzie, who scored a try and also created another for bulldozing centre Ngani Laumape.
Two of those tries came when France were reduced to 14 men by the sin-binning of lock Paul Gabrillagues for a high tackle on All Blacks centre Crotty. The tackle appeared clearly legal, around the chest.
Gabrillagues left the field with the score locked at 11-11 and returned with New Zealand leading 25-11.
“We were behind on the scoreboard but, as soon as we drew even, the boys really picked up again,” All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock said.
The other key to the magnitude of the victory was New Zealand’s ability to steadily increase the pace of the match in the second half.
France were fully competitive through the first half, no question, but the introduction of uncapped prop Karl Tu’inukuafe from the bench in the second half stiffened the All Blacks’ scrum and helped turn the tide of the match.