Hansen hails young All Blacks
June 23, 2012
Sonny Bill Williams ran in two tries against Ireland © Getty Images
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was delighted with the impact of his next generation of All Blacks as they took a central role in thrashing Ireland 60-0 in Hamilton.
In the absence of the likes of Dan Carter, Kieran Read and Ma'a Nonu, the All Blacks ran in nine tries with young flanker Sam Cane and centre Sonny Bill Williams both crossing for two tries each.
Young fly-halves Aaron Cruden and Beaudan Barrett and scrum-half Aaron Smith also impressed hugely for the All Blacks as they recorded their biggest winning margin over Ireland, who had come so close to claiming their first win over New Zealand last weekend. And Hansen was delighted with the performances of the young All Blacks.
Hansen said: "Aaron Cruden ran the team as if he had been there for years, then Beauden came in and did the same. Sam Cane was outstanding tonight. He has given me an easier night's sleep tonight because I know how to look after my mate [Richie McCaw] beside me here.
"We have introduced a group of young men to the All Black jersey and, by and large, we are pretty happy with how they have performed."
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said: "The head guys wanted to get up into the line and make the tackles tonight. That is how we forced mistakes and turnovers. Even with 10 minutes to go we spoke on the pitch about not letting them cross our line. It was good fun out there."
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll was gutted by the defeat and cited his side's shortcomings at the breakdown as major factor in the heavy defeat. He said: "You get sick of that scoreline pretty quickly. It is a difficult one to take today.
"The second you give them two or three scores by 20 minutes they are a different team. They start to play with a buffer - they are a bit like France that way. They dominated us at the breakdown. They smashed us today and, as a result, we weren't able to put together many phases. There was an amount of unforced errors on top of that.
"I can't remember all of their scores but they didn't have to work too hard for a lot of them. It is difficult to look back on other performances (by New Zealand against Ireland) and think of a better one."
Coach Declan Kidney added: "I have absolutely no doubt that the players can go on (and challenge for top prizes). It is an honour to coach your country. I've been asked to coach my country and I will continue to do so.
"Right now it hurts," he added. "It is easy to hop on the bandwagon right now. We've found out a lot of things about ourselves but we will look at that in the off-season."
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