Julian Savea scored his second hat-trick of the World Cup, as a ruthless New Zealand dismantled France 62-13 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to set up a semi-final against South Africa.
In a re-match of the 2011 final, the All Blacks ran in nine tries for
the biggest score ever conceded in a Test by France and they will now
meet the Springboks at Twickenham next Sunday (AEDT).
The Springboks advanced to the last four with a tight 23-19 win over Wales in their quarter-final at Twickenham.
"It was a pretty special performance, there's no doubt about that," All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said.
a difference between pool play and knock-out play and obviously that
creates an edge in itself, because if you don't turn up you go home."
Savea's triple took his tally to eight for the tournament and there was
a brace for reserve Tawera Kerr-Barlow, with further tries from Nehe
Milner-Skudder, lock Brodie Retallick, blindside flanker Jerome Kaino
and number eight Kieran Read.
French flair flickered briefly but
the dominant All Blacks quickly snuffed out hopes of an upset to match
those of 1999 and at the same stage in the same stadium in 2007, the
only time New Zealand has failed to reach the last four of a World Cup.
Blacks fly half Dan Carter looked back close to his best and
contributed 17 points with the boot, including a single penalty in the
fifth minute to open the scoring.
Full-back Scott Spedding had
just brought France level with a 54-metre penalty when Retallick charged
down Frederic Michalak's clearance kick, gathered the ball on the first
bounce and lumbered to the line to touch down.
Carter added the
extras but that was the end of Michalak's night and half-back Morgan
Parra took the short-range kicking duties to reduce the deficit to 10-6.
should have cut it still further, only to miss an easy penalty, and
Carter had a drop goal attempt charged down before Milner-Skudder cut
inside off his wing and turned on the afterburners to score his fifth
try of the tournament.
Carter converted and soon created a try for
Savea, taking on the defensive line with a dummy, fending off his
tackler and producing a sublime backhanded offload to send the hulking
winger flying to the line.
France hit back seven minutes later,
however, when number eight Louis Picamoles picked up a loose pass and
bulldozed his way to the line for a converted try.
But the revival
was short-lived and Savea pushed away two tacklers and crashed over the
line in the grasp of a third to send the All Blacks into the break
France tore into the All Blacks after half-time but its
most promising passage of play ended when Picamoles was sent to the
sin-bin for pushing his fist into the face of All Blacks captain Richie
That pretty much ended French hopes of victory and Kaino
crossed before he returned with Savea completing his hat-trick with the
sixth try before the hour mark.
The All Blacks looked like scoring
every time they got the ball for the last 20 minutes and it was Read
and Kerr-Barlow, on at half-back for Aaron Smith, who put the gloss on
New Zealand's ninth straight victory over the French.
"All we've done today is earned a chance to play in a semi-final," McCaw said.
happened tonight, we're happy about, but come Monday we have to start
again because there will be three other teams all with the same
"I've learnt the hard way that you don't get ahead of yourself."