The All Blacks will face off against France in Christchurch on Saturday.
The All Blacks will face off against France in Christchurch on Saturday. NZ Herald

Coach Hansen wants All Blacks to start strong against France

ALL Blacks coach Steve Hansen has put the heat on his starting XV to make significant improvements in the second Test against France in Christchurch tomorrow.

Hansen has resisted the urge to make big changes to the team which began the three-match series with a rusty 23-13 victory last weekend at Eden Park.

Loosehead prop Tony Woodcock and halfback Piri Weepu return from injury, but only as far as the reserves bench. Wyatt Crockett has been rewarded for his solid performance with his second start in his home city.

Woodcock replaces Ben Afeaki on the bench and has a big opportunity to wipe the slate clean on a disappointing year.

Moving from the Blues to the Highlanders, Woodcock has endured a season low on form and high on injury.

He is returning from a hamstring strain and abscess on his nose.

Weepu replaces Tawera Kerr-Barlow on the bench after recovering from being knocked out while playing for the Blues in their loss to the Highlanders on June 1.

Hansen said his main area of concern had been the breakdown.

"Clearly, there has been a lot of work done on how we are going to approach the breakdown and I'm sure we will see an improvement there," he said.

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