Hansen confident in replacements
August 20, 2013
Fly-half Colin has played 10 Tests for the All Blacks © Getty Images
All Black coach Steve Hansen says replacement fly-halves Colin Slade and Tom Taylor have slotted in seamlessly after confirmation that Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett will join Dan Carter on the sidelines and miss this weekend's Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia.
Cruden has been ruled out for between two to six weeks with a posterior crucial ligament knee injury, while Barrett (calf) should be available for the match against Argentina on September 7. Lock Luke Romano has also been ruled out for the remainder of the Rugby Championship with a torn adductor. But Hansen was confident the replacements would step into the breach - particularly Slade and Taylor.
"Luckily enough Tom Taylor has been to a couple of camps. Colin has played 10 Tests and been to a World Cup. Both of them are reasonably comfortable in the environment," said the All Blacks coach. "The game plan is not too difficult. They've just got to come in and do their job and we've got to trust them and everyone else has just got to do theirs and do it really, really well. Really we are getting reward for the camps and having Tom Taylor [at them].
"We were getting reward for picking Colin Slade when he was injury free a couple of years ago. I'm confident they have got the skill set to do what we want them to do. They are confident people. Tom Taylor is a 90 percent goal kicker and Colin is a pretty accomplished goal kicker too. They come with a lot of skills."
Hansen was coy on whether Slade's Test experience would give him the front-running for the No.10 jersey. But he said there would be no change to the attacking game plan due to the injuries to Carter, Cruden and Barrett.
"They [Slade and Taylor] fitted in pretty good. They've got hold of it pretty quickly. It was pretty seamless," Hansen added.
Hansen believed the adversity would be good for the All Blacks focus heading into the second Bledisloe Cup showdown and even after dishing out a 47-29 hiding to the Wallabies last weekend he said there were areas they needed to work on.
"Yes we scored 47 points but we only played off about six set pieces. So that's disappointing. We've got to improve that," he said. "They scored 29 points so we've got to improve that. The score means nothing. We've only won one game. We've got to go out and do it again. If we can win another one then we get to keep the Bledisloe Cup."
Hansen also expected Australia to respond strongly to last weekend's humiliation in Sydney.
"I think they will come at us with everything they've got. They'll have a huge amount of intensity. There will be a lot more purpose about their game. A lot more energy," he said. "They'll work hard on being a lot more accurate than they were. They made a massive amount of unforced errors and if they get that out of their game they are right in the performance. We have to improve our game to match that."
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham