Carter could open the floodgates
All Black coach Steven Hansen remains hopeful that ace flyhalf Dan Carter will be available for his team's Rugby Championship Test against Argentina.
All Black coach Steven Hansen remains hopeful that ace flyhalf Dan Carter will be available for his team's Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in La Plata on Saturday.
The record-breaking No.10 missed the last two Tests with a calf injury, necessitating the need for Beauden Barrett to join Aaron Cruden and Carter on tour - where they will also face the Springboks in Soweto next week.
"We'll have to wait and see how we go on the training track, but DC [Carter] has come through the week reasonably good and he sounds confident, as long as he doesn't get any setbacks we should be fine," Hansen said.
The All Black mentor, who said he expects to be picking from a full squad, admitted that Carter is vital to his team's desire to play an up-tempo game against the Pumas.
Hansen, asked about Los Pumas' conservative style of play, admitted they had difficulties combating it in their recent encounter in Wellington.
The manner of their recent victories against both South Africa and the Pumas were marked by what the Kiwis regard as spoiling, defence-orientated tactics that stifle New Zealand's attacking flair.
And with the Pumas unlikely to change their tactics, the All Blacks will under pressure to impose themselves on their hosts.
Hansen admitted another war of attrition would be waged before their final battle in Soweto against the Springboks.
"Argentina will look to slow it down and make it a scrappy game," Hansen said, adding: "If it does get scrappy we'll get what we got in Wellington."
Hansen criticised the Argentinian forwards for habitually losing their footing at the breakdown and killing the ball as a means of disrupting the All Blacks' momentum.
But Los Pumas can hardly be blamed for playing to their strengths given they are keeping company with the world's top three ranked nations for the first time.
South Africa then exerted similar pressure in Dunedin.
As a result Hansen put his personnel on notice to dominate the forward exchanges and breach Argentina's sliding defence.
"We've got to get quicker ball, we've got to win the collision as the ball carrier and get our clean-out right. We've got to keep the big Argentinian forwards from going off their feet, killing our ball and slowing our ball," he said.
There has been no shortage of negativity surrounding the All Blacks since their nine-try demolition of Ireland in June - they have scored seven in the four tests since their unanswered 60-point romp in Hamilton - but Hansen tried to accentuate the positive.
"We're not scoring a lot of tries but the tries we are scoring are off set-piece play and no other team in the world's doing that to the same extent at the moment," he said.
"What we've got to do now is put together the broken play tries - forwards and backs combining - and the opposition aren't allowing us to do that. So far they've been good enough to stop us."
Hansen said the issue wasn't structure when it came to attack, but ensuring that the team was able to capitalise when play was loose or enemy defensive formations were fragmented.
"What we've got to do now is put together the broken play tries," he said.
The last two tests the All Blacks have played Argentina it has taken at least a hour to break down their defences, while Hansen said they were looking at stopping the World Champions at the source.
Sources: Fairfax NZ News & Newstalk ZB