Cruden feeling the heat

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 12:59
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A knee injury and a superb cameo from Beauden Barrett marked a frustrating outing for All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden at Ellis Park.

A knee injury and a superb cameo from Beauden Barrett marked a frustrating outing for All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden at Ellis Park.

The Chiefs playmaker left the pitch after an hour and was replaced by Barrett who scored the try which clinched the Rugby Championship to strengthen his case for a start against Australia in the final Bledisloe Cup match next week.

Cruden said that while his knee injury is not serious, it was still frustrating to sit on the bench and see Barrett take his chance.

"The knee is all right," Cruden told Fairfax News NZ.

"It's responded pretty well over the last 24 hours, but it was pretty frustrating. You get the opportunity to start a test like that and only being able to last 60-odd minutes was pretty frustrating."

With Dan Carter currently ruled out through injury, Cruden got a rare opportunity to start, but many are calling for Barrett to be elevated to the run-on team to take on Australia.

"I thought Beauden stepped up really well," Cruden said.

"The game was in the balance there. The way he responded after missing Jean de Villiers, and being able to take the game by the scruff of the neck... he was outstanding. It was disappointing for myself, but great to see him do his thing.

"It keeps you on your toes. That's why I'm frustrated. You get an opportunity and you don't want to let another guy get a crack, especially when Beauden performs like he did last night. The competition is really strong, especially at first-five.

"I was really stoked for him to personally perform the way he did," he added.

With the next week off the All Blacks celebrated the win in Johannesburg late into the night which coach Steve Hansen said was thoroughly deserved.

"They were absolutely buggered, but as the night wore on they certainly got their voices and started singing and had a good night, and deservedly so.

"There's not a game the following week so it was a big one. You don't get too many times to step off the ferris wheel and take a breather. With the week off it allowed us to have a couple of quiet ones," he said.

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