Hansen insists All Blacks can improve
December 15, 2013
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen won't be resting on his laurels © Getty Images
The All Blacks have clearly demonstrated their superiority in 2013, but coach Steve Hansen is adamant there is plenty of scope for improvement.
New Zealand won all of their 14 Tests in 2013, becoming the first team to achieve that feat in the professional era, and secured the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship along the way. Hansen, however, believes New Zealand must guard against complacency.
"From a performance point of view it was nowhere near perfect, I mean there's a lot of things that we've got to go away and work on and get better at otherwise we'll get passed," Hansen told New Zealand's 3 News.
"What can we improve on? Just about everything in our game. We can catch and pass better, our running lines can be better, our position-specific skills can be better, our game structures we can improve on and get tidier with, our core roles can get better, our breakdown we have to improve on ... I don't think our performances were that great that we've got to a point that we can't improve anymore."
Hansen's insatiable quest for perfection - epitomised by gritty victories in South Africa to clinch the Rugby Championship and in Ireland in the final Test of the year - has been the motivating force behind the All Blacks' perfect season.
"The two big games that really stood out were Ellis Park was one of the special games and the other one was Dublin," Hansen said. "To show that character and come back and win it in the 81st minute, or whatever it was, was pretty special."
"The proudest moment I think is when you see the big guys in the tight five actually doing their job but also catching and passing well, no more so than in the last one and a half minutes of the Dublin game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
"The days of when one team dominated the championship are a thing of the past, I think it will be even closer next year." The Phil Vickery column
The 2014 Six Nations has been and gone and the tournament has been painted green. Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's talking points
"The fairytale continued right to the end for the magic man." Tom Hamilton reports on the game that saw Brian O'Driscoll bid adieu with the Six Nations title
"It is a sign of how far this England team have come that they looked disappointed at the full-time whistle having just put 52 points on Italy." Tom Hamilton writes