All Blacks ready to respond
Thu, 12 Jun 2014 11:40
Probably the poorest they have ever been
The All Blacks nervy victory over England at the weekend has set them a great platform to prove the naysayers wrong in their second match.
Coach Steve Hansen was candid about his teams poor performance in their 20-15 sneak over the line against England in Auckland.
Looking ahead to the next Test, Hansen feels that the additional time spent together as a squad and the All Black's class will be key in putting in a dominant performance.
"At the end of the day it was a pretty ordinary performance last week but this is the side we think is good enough to do the job," the All Black boss said when announcing his team to face England in Dunedin.
"We have got to work on our basic skills this week, our skill sets were very poor, probably the poorest they have ever been.
"This week we have trained well, there is a lot more intensity and purpose about what we have done and i think the guys themselves are disappointed in the way they played.
"We shouldn't loose sight of the fact that we did manage to win the test, but at the same time they are very proud people who want to play a quality of game that we can all be proud of - last week we were not proud of our performance."
Much has been made of the fact that the All Blacks team was at full strength against an ostensible English 'B' team, but Hansen has not hit panic-stations yet.
When quizzed about dropping players for their poor performance Hansen alluded to the fact that his team are likely to grow the more time they spend together.
"If you turn around and say so-and-so shouldn't be picked cause he played poorly we wouldn't have any one on the park, that's how bad the performance was," Hansen added.
"We know some of the reasons whey we played poorly and one of them was a lack of preparation time so there is no point in recreating that again and putting new faces in.
"It is about us working hard on our skill sets and under control, as a coaching group and a playing group we have faith in what we are trying to do it is just a matter of getting it right on the night.
The All Blacks have been berated by the English media as well as by prop Joe Marler who is starting to see through the New Zealand aura.
However, Hansen has every faith in his team and their class stating categorically that he expects a turn-around from his charges.
"There are not too many times that All Black teams play poorly and then don't respond in some fashion," he added.
"Don't forget we are playing a very good side and they will respond as well - hence why I think it is going to be a really good battle."
As with most coaches, Hansen has a great respect for his opponents (maybe more so than usual as England keep pushing the world champions close).
"We have had a healthy respect for them now for some time, I think the rest of New Zealand might also have a healthy respect for them now too," he added.
"This is a challenge this side needs, they are one of the best sides in the world at them moment and they will expose any flaws that we have and then we will be able to deal with those"
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