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All Blacks dismiss talks of revenge

THE All Blacks have dismissed revenge as a motivating factor in their rugby re-match with France at Dunedin tomorrow.

France famously tipped favorites New Zealand out of the 2007 World Cup, winning 20-18 in the quarterfinals at Cardiff. That caused echoes which still reverberate in New Zealand rugby today.

Coaches Graham Henry, Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen held their positions despite the Kiwis worst-ever World Cup campaign and public pressure for their removal. The All Blacks coaches continue to be dogged by that failure, though they have argued that recent results and a return to the No. 1 ranking prove they have moved on.

Smith said a desire to avenge the 2007 defeat would play no part in New Zealand's preparations for tomorrow's test at Carisbrook, the first between New Zealand and France in the South Island city where the All Blacks have one of their best win-loss records.

"Different teams, different coach," Smith said of the French.

"We've got a different team. What happened, happened and we moved on from that last year.

"I can think of losses through my career and if you let them consume you too much you wouldn't coach. This is a new opportunity. We've got a new team and we'd love to get off to a great start."

Only seven of the French team and five of the All Blacks had any involvement in the match at Cardiff and Marc Lievremont has since replaced the abrasive Bernard Laporte as France's coach. Henry, Smith and Hansen have been earmarked, but not yet appointed, to lead the All Blacks into the next World Cup, in 2011 in New Zealand.


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