Richie McCaw was left a very proud captain after his team’s 37-17 showing helped him become a winning skipper on his 100th Test cap for New Zealand.
McCaw was presented with a special white cap by close friend Jock Hobbs in the aftermath of the game, which saw the All Blacks score five tries.
“I was very proud of the way the guys turned up tonight,” said the in-form openside flanker.
“We realised that after the first two weeks that there was going to be lift in intensity and we made sure that we didn’t wait for that, we wanted to up our intensity and bring it to the party.
“The first ten minutes the French got stuck in but the way we defended and when he got our opportunity is what we are really proud of.”
Asked whether he felt extra pressure in the build-up to his century, McCaw explained that his focus remained the same as it was in the other 99.
“I tried to go about it as I have in the other Tests to be honest,” he continued.
“A lot of people have congratulated me over the last ten days which was nice but I was just keen to get out on the track and prepare the same with a good team performance.”
Being presented the cap and receiving emotional words from Hobbs, who has been battling with leukaemia, was something extra special for McCaw.
“I’ve got a huge amount of respect for that fellow so for him to come along to say those words and present that cap, I couldn’t think of a better man to receive it off,” he said.
“He’s been through a tough time but he is a fighter and largely responsible for why the tournament is here. Having him here today was special.”
Meanwhile, coach Graham Henry gave journalists an update of his current injury situation in the camp, with Richard Kahui, Cory Jane, Israel Dagg and Adam Thomson now struggling.
“Richard has got a haematoma in his thigh and he is doubtful for next week, Israel Dagg has got a haematoma in his thigh, Adam Thomson has rolled his ankle and Cory Jane got a head knock and is a bit dizzy.”
By Adam Kyriacou at Eden Park