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Dunedin Nightmare Still Haunts All Blacks

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Dunedin Nightmare Still Haunts All Blacks

By Mark Geenty of NZPA

Marseille, Nov 24 NZPA - As a run-on test rugby debut for the All Blacks, it was one to forget.

For Cory Jane, that feeling of helplessness from that Dunedin night five months ago still nags away, but is almost extinguished.

The same could be said for several of his stunned teammates as they watched a fired-up, physical French side outplay them to a 27-22 victory, which now forms part of their motivation for Sunday's (NZT) test at Stade Velodrome here.

Jane, expected to return to the No 14 jersey in place of rising star Zac Guildford, has undergone an impressive rugby transformation since.

As he readies for his 12th test, the Upper Hutt product says the Carisbrook chaos made him the player he is now -- rated on Sunday by attack coach Steve Hansen as "probably our most outstanding wing".

"When I came in when we played France I was new to the wing in internationals, I wasn't really getting involved, I was just doing the basics," Jane said.

"Now I'm a bit more comfortable so I'm looking to enjoy it a bit more and not be so worried like I was earlier in the year. I've calmed down and relaxed."

The 25-year-old now feels as comfortable in an All Blacks jersey as his own skin.

And he's not scared to admonish his teammates. After the Tokyo Bledisloe Cup test he labelled 42-test winger Sitiveni Sivivatu a "silly kid" for his dangerous tackle on Adam Ashley-Cooper which saw him sinbinned and cost them a try in his absence.

Talking the talk is fine if you perform, which Jane did in the latter part of the Tri-Nations then against the Wallabies, Wales and Italy on the current tour.

Jane said the All Blacks were hellbent on maintaining their world No 1 ranking, ending their five-test tour unbeaten and keeping their proud record of not having conceded a try in their past seven northern hemisphere tests.

"It's a big one. We came over here with a goal to win all the tests and become No 1 in the world again. We haven't let in a try. To come over here and fall apart and lose would be pretty gutting. We'll be looking to perform well and get a good win because it's been a long tour.

"They came to New Zealand and it was 1-1 so it's going to be a big game, we're at their crib now."

The All Blacks have won their last three tests against France on French soil: 47-3 and 27-11 in 2006 and 45-6 in Paris in 2004 in a standout test performance.

It's Jane's first trip to France, and teammates have warned of the intimidation levels. He's also determined not to be shown up, like he was by winger Cedric Heymans in Wellington.

"They're pretty skilful, they can get about 15 passes in about 10m, they've got quick hands.

"You get other teams that throw a few miss passes but they're pretty good at putting other people into space. They did in Wellington and I got beaten on the sideline and it was about 3m, a couple of little passes and boom, down the sideline. You have to watch them."

Jane said the competition with Guildford, who played on the wing against England, had made him hungrier and sharper at training.

And he crossed his fingers the All Blacks backs would finally click on attack after some hot and cold efforts in Europe, scoring just three tries in three weeks.

"We just need to talk a bit more to each other and help each other out. It's slowly getting better, boys are starting to pop up in the right holes or take the right defenders. We're on the improve, we just hope we can tick it off this week."

 

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