Hansen questions 'crazy' Wales
November 24, 2012
All Blacks boss Steve Hansen has questioned the decision making of Sam Warburton's Wales side © Getty Images
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen labelled Wales' decision to turn down kicks at goal in the early stages of the All Blacks' 33-10 victory in Cardiff as "crazy".
Wales turned down two kickable penalties in the opening quarter of the game in favour of what they hoped would be lineouts deep inside the visitors' 22 only for mis-firing fly-half Rhys Priestland to fail to make touch. The All Blacks only led 6-0 at the time but crossed for the opening try through flanker Liam Messam soon after to take a firm grip on the contest and they never looked back.
The home side rallied after the break with two tries - one of which was the result of a similar gamble that eventually saw a 15-man driving maul produce a score for replacement Scott Williams - but Hansen was not convinced that their rivals got their tactics right.
Asked what he thought about Wales' bold ploy, Hansen said: "It was crazy. Either they did not think we would score many points or they felt they could score often. I guess they could try to vindicate what they were trying to do with their all-in line-out which they will be happy with, I guess.
"We saw a game last week, England against Australia, where they did not take them either and in the end it probably cost them the game.
"Today, I don't know if their kicker would have kicked the goals but the thing is points on the board make the game a lot tougher mentally and it applies pressure. I don't know you'll have to ask the messiah what he thinks when he comes in."
Wales coach Warren Gatland refused to be too critical but admitted on reflection they should have taken the points. "I sometimes feel when you play them (New Zealand) you have to take some opportunities. We did not get into positions to do that in the first half and obviously in the second half we did and put them under pressure.
"The way they operate, and they are very good at it, is if they are under pressure they are happy to give away a penalty and three points and stop your momentum. That is why they are such a good side as you may not be back in their 22 for 15 minutes, during which time they can potentially score a couple of tries.
"That was the plan but we did not execute as well as we could. We will go back and look at it and say, 'should we have taken the three points?' It was only 6-0 and still pretty close when we decided to kick for the corner."
Hansen was less committal about the actions of his hooker Andrew Hore who courted controversy with what appeared to be a swinging arm that brought Wales lock Bradley Davies' game to a premature end in the opening minute.
To be honest all I saw was a quick replay of it and it looked like he was going to clean out a Welshman in front of him," he said. "It looked like he went to get him out of the way and clearly something has happened during that, but until I see it properly I cannot really say I cannot say anything, but it is unfortunate that it has happened and no doubt here will be more to be talked about...He will probably be cited."
Gatland echoed that opinion, commenting: "You can make your own conclusions from that. I have not had a good look at it but I will leave it to the citing commissioner to have a look at it. It does not look the best in the world, it looks like he has been caught from behind, I don't know whether it is a swinging arm or not.
"You do not associate the All Blacks as being a side that resort to cheap shots and I hope that is not the case and that maybe it was an accident. Bradley has gone down in a heap, we had to admit him to hospital, he doesn't quite know where he is at but fingers crossed he recovers. He was a big loss to us and it took us a bit of time to cope."
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