Hansen: All Blacks were rusty
Tom Hamilton at Eden Park
June 7, 2014
Aaron Cruden's quick thinking changed the game according to Steve Hansen © Getty Images
Steve Hansen rated his team's performance against England at 70% and described their showing as "rusty".
Conrad Smith's 77th minute try saw the All Blacks clinch a 20-15 win over England in the first match of their three-Test series. For much of the game it was a tight, tense affair with handling errors from both sides but it was the All Blacks who seized their opportunity when it came late on.
"Today if we gave ourselves a mark it would be 70%," Hansen said. "It was a physical game with a lot of errors from both sides. We can put some of that down to rustiness and some of it down to the pressure of the opposition. We know now it's going to be one of those special Test series. "
It was Aaron Cruden's quick thinking when he tapped and went on a penalty that led to the All Blacks' field position for Smith's try and Hansen praised the fly-half's call saying it "changed the game". Skipper Richie McCaw was happy with Cruden's decision which saw him turn his back on a potential three points from a kickable position.
"You have to back the guys to have a crack and at the end of the day it paid off. If we kicked for goal we'd have been up by three but it worked out. The guys have to think for themselves a little bit."
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has predicted a special series between the teams
And McCaw echoed his coach's comments on the team's performance, saying: "I thought the first-half we were a bit rusty. I said to the boys that Test footie is a step up in intensity and pace and we were perhaps half a yard of that in the first-half. In the second-half we started to build some pressure.
"We got there in the end but we need to be a lot better going into the second Test and we expect England to be better."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament