THERE were so many significant periods in and after this remarkable game, one that nobody who was in the Stade de France will forget for a long time, that it is hard to know which were the most significant.
Perhaps it was the 103 seconds of continuous rugby with which the All Blacks began, setting an agenda for a furiously fast and physical contest that ended in Franceâ€™s secondheaviest defeat at home.
Or perhaps it was the minutes at the end when the New Zealand players greeted their victory as if they had won the World Cup. They fell into one anotherâ€™s arms before moving around the field to acknowledge their supporters in a way that past All Black teams, containing taciturn, modest men, would have eschewed.
But there was no mistaking the intensity, skill and expertise with which New Zealand dissected Europeâ€™s form team, one that had been thought capable, with England, of tilting the balance from the southern to the northern hemisphere.
The All Blacks delivered a stunning performance of total rugby in one of those games that could, in time, be seen as being notable in the development of an exceptional team. On this evidence, New Zealand are already the best team in the world, as Fabien Pelous, the France captain, suggested.
They made France look ordinary; slow to the breakdown, weak in contact, feeble in the tackle and lacking in fight. Yet France were none of these things. They were simply comprehensively outplayed in a way impossible to imagine two weeks ago after their 27-12 victory over Australia. The much-vaunted pack was roughly handled, the celebrated back row rendered almost invisible. The experiment of playing FrÃ©dÃ©ric Michalak at scrum half, forced by a series of injuries, was a failure. â€œWe have 2Â½ years in which to work things out before the World Cup,â€ Olivier Magne said. Had he said twice as long it might not be enough.0