VIDEO: All Blacks not reaching for panic button

Sun, 22 Oct 2017 07:26

REACTION: The All Blacks won't be hitting the panic button, following the weekend's loss to Australia.

Instead, they warned they will bounce back as a stronger unit on next month's Northern Hemisphere tour.

The misfiring world champions lacked creativity and gave away needless penalties in their 18-23 loss in Brisbane and only a bone-crunching defensive effort kept the losing margin to five points.

As the All Blacks prepared to return to New Zealand on Sunday, coach Steve Hansen was not prepared to point the finger at anyone.

He said it was a time to absorb the lessons from the defeat and the result would not cost anyone a place in the touring party to be named on Monday.

He said the team for the five-match tour, which includes Tests against France, Scotland and Wales as well as additional matches against a French Selection and the Barbarians, had largely been decided before this past Saturday "and it hasn't changed".

The All Blacks were not at full strength against Australia, with two world player of the year winners - Beauden Barrett and Brodie Retallick - among those unavailable. But Hansen was adamant that was no excuse and the Wallabies deserved the win.

"There is no point pointing fingers at anybody, we will have a good look at it on the tape and find out exactly what was wrong. We will get on and fix that up," he said.

"The attitude and the effort that went in was fantastic. When you look at the people that aren't here, and the people that are here, what a great opportunity for this team to grow and learn.

"The wheels on the bus keep going around and in two weeks' time we have to play another game."

Captain Kieran Read said he expected that the defeat - the All Blacks' second from 11 Tests so far this year, after dropping one game against the British and Irish Lions in July - would have a positive spin-off.

"Losses hurt a lot more so hopefully the microscope from an individual point of view will be a bit stronger and the boys will learn from that," he said.

"We've got a few days at home but the trip up north will certainly be going through our heads and about what our last performance was like and hopefully that creates a bit of edge for us."

Hansen is expected to include a number of new faces in the enlarged 37-man squad to be named on Monday as he looks to build depth of experience ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

It is unclear whether Retallick, who is dealing with a family tragedy, will be on tour, while regular starting props Owen Franks and Joe Moody have been ruled out because of injury. Fullback Ben Smith is taking a break from Test rugby for the remainder of the year.

Agence France-Presse