Hansen finds his winning recipe
Hansen finds his winning recipeSHARE
New All Blacks coach Steve Hansen didn't take long to find a winning recipe and it is a strategy he will not deviate from.
Hansen told the New Zealand media on Sunday that he won't be making many changes to the All Blacks' line-up for the second Test against Ireland in Christchurch on Saturday.
"I don't think there will be too many," he said on Sunday, a day after New Zealand beat Ireland 42-10 in Auckland in his first match in charge.
Hansen saw the first two Tests of the three-match series as a settling-in period.
"If we have the opportunity and a bit of breathing space [after that], then we will make one or two changes," he said.
"It would be nice to be able to introduce a couple of younger players into Test rugby, whether it's off the bench or starting at some point."
While Hansen has indicated that the integration of new blood has been a priority for the All Blacks, looking ahead to their World Championship defence in England in 2015, the unspoken point above all is maintaining the team’s winning legacy.
Three debutants in wing Julian Savea, scrumhalf Aaron Smith and lock Brodie Retallick joined a seasoned core that included 104-cap skipper Richie McCaw, flyhalf Dan Carter, centre Conrad Smith, prop Tony Woodcock and hooker Andrew Hore.
The mix worked a treat, with Savea grabbing three tries, ace passer Smith turning in a lively display and Retallick doing the business in the tight.
Hansen said the amount of cohesion the All Blacks showed in their first hit-out since their World Cup final victory more than seven months ago did surprise him a little.
"What we were looking for is really good attitude and just trying to establish some form of patterns that we've been working on," he said.
"You also expect your team to take a while to gel when they're coming from five different other teams and they gelled pretty quickly to be fair."
There was one injury concern, with blindside flank Victor Vito, who got a cut to the head, also pulling up with a knee problem.
Hansen said Vito had a nagging medial ligament strain and an assessment on his availability would be made in mid-week.
Sources: NZ Newswire and allblacks.com