Hansen all smiles after Tokyo rout
Sat, 02 Nov 2013 10:00
You always want more
All Black coach Steve Hansen declared himself "reasonably happy" with a eight-try rout of Japan.
However, it was more the return of two key stalwarts, captain Richie McCaw and flyhalf Dan Carter, than the quality of some of the rugby they played.
New Zealand overpowered Japan 54-6, despite fielding an experimental side.
The All Blacks, who now travel to Europe to play France, England and Ireland, stretched their winning streak this year to 11 Tests, but endured an uncomfortable opening half an hour against the Brave Blossoms.
"Reasonably happy, but you always want more and there were things we could have done a lot better so that will give us something to work on during the week," Hansen said in a post-match interview.
But he was much happier with Carter (shoulder) and McCaw (knee), who started together for the first time since September.
Carter, who played 51 minutes, was last on the field for the All Blacks against the Springboks in Auckland on September 14, when he took a bad knock in a Bismarck du Plessis tackle.
Yet Hansen thought he and McCaw, who captained the team from No.8, played well.
''I though Ricko [McCaw] was pretty outstanding - as he normally is,'' the All Black coach said.
''For Dan, a long time out of the game with a shoulder injury, he came through really well. I'm looking forward to seeing how he goes next week.''
McCaw, who lasted the whole 80 minutes - having missed the Test against the Wallabies in Dunedin earlier this month, was pleased with his performance - and praised the scrappy Japanese team.
''It was a pretty quick sort of a game, but it was nice to get 80 minutes under the belt,'' he said.
''[Japan] played some good rugby at times, they got some quick ruck ball and stuff - and we were a bit guilty of giving away a few penalties - you've got to give them credit, definitely.''
Hansen paid tribute to the host's effort and said they had displayed great spirit throughout the match.
However, he said he was pleased with the way in which his side replied to the challenge.
"They did and we responded to that," he said.
"I was really pleased, it's the first time in 52 Test matches that they haven't scored a try.
"They're second in the world in that so right until the 81st minute we were trying to stop them from scoring so they did play well and they should be encouraged."
Hansen was also satisfied with the way the All Blacks eventually took their chances and said the tries were inevitable once they found their rhythm with the ball in hand and were able to build phases.
"That was the thing that was a bit frustrating early in the game. We talked all week about respecting the football and earning the right to play and we started to do stuff that we don't normally do.
"And once we started doing our game and playing our structures, and using our skill sets that we're good at. Then we got tries."
Furthermore, the introduction to Test rugby for new caps Frank Halai, Dominic Bird, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and Luke Whitelock was a positive one and serves to further bolster his squad's depth.
"They'll have got a taste and it's a big week for us. Some guys have learned that you've got to prepare for a Test genuinely regardless of who the opposition are and they are guys that have been in the team for a while," he said.
"And they are the future, so we need those guys to have that mental fortitude and the young guys got an opportunity to get out and experience what it is like to be an All Black, so it was a good night."
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