New Zealand clinch 3-0 Test series win over France in New Plymouth
Last Updated: 22/06/13 1:34pm
New Zealand completed a 3-0 series victory over France after prevailing 24-9 in Saturday's third and final Test at New Plymouth.
Ben Smith's 38th minute try and four Dan Carter penalties put the All Blacks in control before hometown boy Beauden Barrett ended the series with a fairytale try in the last play of the game.
The win secures a home clean sweep for the All Blacks over Les Bleus, who had lost in Christchurch and Wellington in previous weeks.
France, who were once again held try-less, have now lost seven consecutive matches to New Zealand, but their latest reverse hung in the balance right up to the dying minutes.
Indeed, the fired-up Les Bleus put in a much-improved display on last week's 33-0 mauling - especially at the set piece and in their kicking out of hand - and regularly breached the All Backs' defensive line.
New Zeland led 8-6 at the end of an entertaining first-half thanks to a try from wing Smith and a Carter penalty, however Florian Fritz's drop-goal and a John-Marc Doussain penalty kept France in touch.
Another three points from Doussain shortly after the break put France in front for the first time in the match, however that lead was short-lived as Carter hit back with two penalties in the space of 10 minutes.
France's hopes of victory looked over when Yoann Maestri was sent to the sin-bin eight minutes from time.
And, after another Carter penalty, local boy Barrett put the gloss on the series when he latched on to Ben Smith's clever kick over the top to score.
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NZ v France, third Test 2013
New Zealand have made five changes in personnel ahead of the third and final Test against France in New Plymouth.
France have made eight changes for the third and final Test against New Zealand in New Plymouth on Saturday.
Daniel Carter has recovered from a hand injury and will start for New Zealand in the third Test against France.