New Zealand will get their 2018 international campaign underway when they host France in Auckland this evening in their first International 15s Test match.
The All Blacks head into this series as overwhelming favourites as they have dominated this fixture in recent years.
The All Blacks have won the last 11 matches between these sides and the last series contested in New Zealand saw the All Blacks claim a 3‑0 series victory in 2013.
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen expects a tough encounter and says that statistically France are the best defensive team in world rugby at the moment.
The All Blacks head into this clash without several first‑choice players due to injury, but despite being without regular captain Kieran Read, Sonny Bill Williams and Brodie Retallick, there is plenty of depth in their ranks and Hansen has been able to call on Luke Whitelock, Anton Lienert‑Brown and Scott Barrett to fill in for the injured trio.
If France manage to beat New Zealand in this match, they will end the All Blacks’ 24‑year winning run at Eden Park.
The match is a historic one particularly for the Barrett brothers – Beauden, Scott and Jordie as they will become the first trio of siblings to start a Test together for the All Blacks.
Source:planetrugby.comADVERTISEMENT Listen to the latest news on our 5 radio stations Legend FM, Viti FM, Radio Sargam, FM96 and Navtarang.