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Crotty talks up NZ chances against France

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/11/2016 Angelo Risso
Ryan Crotty. © Phil Walter/Getty Images Ryan Crotty.

All Blacks second-five Ryan Crotty hasn't been able to lace up the boots lately, so he's been helping out by getting his chat on.

The 28-year-old will line up for the world champions against France this weekend for the first time since suffering a hamstring strain in their loss to Ireland in Chicago.

But where some players may have moped about, cursing their luck, the Crusaders gun has spent his last three weeks trying to keep the spring in his side's step.

And while he contends the pep talks served their purpose, playmaker Beauden Barrett isn't so sure.

"It's not so motivating but he chips in with a bit of chat here and there, he's always bickering in the background but that's just standard," Barrett said, with a nod and a wink.

But it's not the only way in which Crotty, who's made the No.12 jumper his own this year and nabbed four tries, has talked his way towards team success.

The Cantabrian has picked up the phone and dialled a few inside sources this week, in the hope of sounding out any secret French plans of attack.

Former Crusaders teammates including star No.10 Dan Carter, utility Colin Slade and midfielder Adam Whitelock all ply their trade in France nowadays, and know Les Bleus better than most.

Crotty had been in touch with all of them and, with the imminent arrival of even more ex-All Blacks in the City of Lights, may soon learn more.

"It's pretty good actually, I've been texting Slade, he's played against a few of them in the competition over here, just little tips on what to look out for," Crotty said.

"It was good getting in touch with Dan, he's always onto it with the best restaurants, a bit out of my price range though."

Crotty will be closely watching the movements of opposing No.12 Wesley Fofana in particular, one of the strongest midfielders in world rugby.

He said the Clermont gun was a marvel with the ball in hand and in distribution.

"Defensively you just have to get your alignment spot-on with him, and try and take his space away, (because) he's good when he's got time on the ball," Crotty said.

"The French are a really unpredictable side, an exciting side with a lot of athletes in their team, so you just have to be ready."

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