France accuse All Blacks of disrespect

Wellington - France have accused All Blacks coach Graham Henry of showing disrespect by criticising them for playing negatively in their 42-11 first Test loss.

"We're going to show them on the pitch that we deserve a bit more respect than what they give to us," French fullback Thomas Castaignede told reporters on Wednesday.

"We respect them a lot because they are a very good team but they cannot dictate to everybody what the other team have to do."

Henry raised the French hackles Tuesday by accusing them of slowing down play by frequent injury breaks and of giving up contesting the scrums.

"I thought they were negative at scrum time, they didn't try to compete," he said.

But Castaignede denied France had tried to stop the All Blacks momentum.

"We didn't slow the game. It wasn't a tactic, it's only in your mind. We never spoke about that at training or whatever," the 59-cap veteran told journalists.

French No. 8 Sebastien Chabal also brushed aside accusations his forward pack had given up competing in the scrums, saying they had trouble adjusting to referee Stuart Dickinson's calls when the scrums engaged.

"I can tell you we didn't cheat once, we tried to do our best, that's it," he said.

Castaignede made it clear his team were bristling at being dubbed "France C" in New Zealand because most leading players stayed home for the climax of the domestic season.

"Everybody in New Zealand and France thinks we're going to be hammered,"the 32-year-old said.

"We've shown that we've got some spirit. Being an All Black means a lot but being a French player means a lot."

Meanwhile the All Blacks star flyhalf Dan Carter remains in doubt for the second Test in Wellington Saturday, as he recovers from a sprained ankle which forced him from the field last week.

"It's 50-50 at the moment, I can't run at full pace," Carter told reporters.

"I'm pretty confident I'll have no problems with kicking, running and side stepping.

"I'm always wanting to play and I'll do what I can to get it right but if it's not I definitely wouldn't force it." - AFP


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