Hansen staying focused on task
November 24, 2012
Luke Romano scored one of three tries for New Zealand © PA Photos
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen refused to get carried away despite watching his side take their unbeaten run to 20 consecutive matches with a 33-10 win over Wales.
Forwards Liam Messam, Tony Woodcock and Luke Romano went over for tries, while fly-half Aaron Cruden weighed in with 18 points from his boot. Now the All Blacks can finish the year unbeaten by beating England at Twickenham next Saturday, a side New Zealand haven't lost to since 2003. However, the world champions will have much to mull over after Wales rallied following half-time to score two tries.
"We put them under a lot of pressure but then of course got Cory (Jones) in the sin-bin (for a deliberate knock-on) and we lost our control and shape for some time - which allowed them to come running back at us," Hansen said. "But we can't afford to get ahead of ourselves and if we don't prepare in genuine fashion England will give us a thumping next week. However, we'll enjoy this success and start again on Monday."
For Wales coach Warren Gatland it was a rude return to Test match day life after he had missed the previous two weeks while away on Lions duty. Early in the first half Wales spurned three chances to kick a penalty to kick for touch and try and win the line-out and drive over. However, on the three occasions his side failed to take advantage of their opportunities and he then had to watch as All Blacks' fly-half Aaron Cruden kicked three penalties for a 9-0 lead before Messam went over in the corner.
Even so there were some positive elements that he hopes his side can take into their final match of the year, against Australia next Saturday.
"We could have thrown in the towel against the world champions but we didn't do that," he said. "I thought we grew into the game and took the game to them in the second half. I'm proud of the way we stole territory and possession in the second half but unfortunately we weren't able to do it in the first and the game got away from us. We wanted to take the game to the All Blacks. You've got to take some risks against them."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall