All Blacks happy to treat mid-week game as Test

by AAP

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen isn't concerned their midweek match in Lyon is being promoted as a Test.

In fact he welcomes it.

New Zealand's opponents are listed as "France", rather than a French Selection, as NZ Rugby is calling them, with visiting officials keen to emphasise the match has non-Test status.

Hansen didn't want to get caught up in the debate but he was delighted his inexperienced players will be put under the blowtorch, even if it is because of a misconception.

"They've got to sell the match. There's 60,000 seats to fill, which they've done," Hansen said.

"It's good, I reckon. Our guys will be thinking it's the second Test too."

It won't just be the crowd size which the Luke Whitelock-led side will find daunting.

Francois Trinh-Duc will play 10 for the France XV. Photo: Getty ImagesThe French selection is close in strength to the Test team beaten 38-18 by New Zealand in Paris on Saturday.

First five-eighth Francois Trinh-Duc and captain/lock Yoann Maestri have both clocked up more than 50 caps and share 11 clashes against the All Blacks between them.

Trinh-Duc was in the last France side to beat the All Blacks, in Dunedin in 2009, when he scored a fine individual try.

Hansen says both sides will be highly motivated.

"It's very much our second team and very much their second team but it is the All Blacks versus France. Both lots of squad members will see it as an opportunity to further their career."

Hansen wants a repeat of the physicality and defence on show from his Test team at Stade de France.

Liam Squire scored first for the All Blacks. Photo: Getty ImagesThe missing ingredient in Paris was discipline.

"There was a lot of good stuff in it, both on attack and defence," he said.

"We defended, I think, extremely well at times, and really physically. We just let them off the hook, giving away silly penalties."

Flanker Liam Squire is the only starting player likely to also start against Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday.

Hansen plans to replace Squire early in the match, once he's convinced the tough blindside has overcome the virus that confined him to his room for five days earlier in the tour.

Hooker Nathan Harris may also get an early exit as he will come onto the Test bench as backup to Codie Taylor following the tour-ending knee injury to Dane Coles.