All Blacks have attacking instinct: Hansen
November 18, 2013
Julian Savea went over twice in the All Blacks win over England in a dominant display of Southern Hemisphere rugby © Getty Images
Attacking instinct has set the All Blacks apart from both France and England this month - something coach Steve Hansen says Europe's best won't find easy to emulate. Tense wins over France last week (26-19) and England on Saturday (30-22) have followed a similar script.
The home sides have enjoyed a sizeable advantage in most statistical categories - notably territory and possession - but the overall try count reads 5-2 in favour of New Zealand. England captain Chris Robshaw was left singing an identical refrain to French counterpart Thierry Dusautoir a week earlier.
"The difference between them and us is that as soon as they get a chance they are clinical," Robshaw said.
The best example was the All Blacks' third try at Twickenham, and wing Julian Savea's second, set up by a brilliant offload from second five-eighth Ma'a Nonu. Hansen says Nonu's deed might attract plaudits in the UK but is standard fare in the southern hemisphere game.
"When you play, like we do, every week, those things are happening every week. So they're not that 'wow'," Hansen said. "What is important about that offload is that he wasn't trying to do something under pressure without having done it before. It wasn't a new thing, it was just natural."
While England's forwards were effective, their backs took a predictable, battering ram approach which rarely threatened the New Zealand front line. All Blacks replacement first five-eighth Aaron Cruden admits it is an area that is setting his team apart.
"Growing up in New Zealand, you're always throwing the ball around with your mates and trying to throw the offload out the back door," Cruden said. "I guess it is a bit of X-factor. We try to stick to the structure as much as possible but you've got to be able to back your instincts and be confident that it's going to come off."
England must find a way to improve their game by tiny margins and they will get there, writes Phil Vickery
"England remind me of a PlayStation rugby team," John Mitchell on tactics and the search for a first-choice fly-half ahead of the World Cup
Augustine Pulu will return home with little more than 20 minutes rugby in one month on tour. It is time for more midweek games writes Craig Dowd
Samoa's Sivi Tau says the team "come completely prepared", the reality is a world away. Seilala Mapusua on Samoa and building a future