There’s still work to be done, says Hansen

The Sunday Independent - - SPORT -

AUCK­LAND: New Zealand pro­duced their best per­for­mance for some time in their record 57-0 rout of South Africa, ac­cord­ing to coach Steve Hansen, but he felt they still had plenty to work on as the All Blacks progress to­wards the 2019 World Cup.

Hansen’s side ran in eight tries and pro­duced a phys­i­cal de­fen­sive ef­fort to win the col­li­sions and slow down the Spring­boks’ ball at North Har­bour Sta­dium to hand the vis­i­tors their worst ever test de­feat.

It was also only the fifth time in the 94 tests the two sides have played since 1921 that South Africa were kept score­less. One of those games ended in a 0-0 draw.

De­spite yes­ter­day’s score­line, Hansen and cap­tain Kieran Read both said the Spring­boks had been hugely com­pet­i­tive for large parts of the game, with the All Blacks tak­ing their time to get into the match.

“At the start we were a bit jit­tery,” Hansen told re­porters. “Once we got into the rhythm of the game we played prob­a­bly as good as we have played in a long time.

“We have seen a pretty good per­for­mance and that’s be­cause the South Africans forced that out of us. The score­board didn’t re­ally re­flect the dif­fer­ence between the two sides.”

Prior to yes­ter­day’s de­mo­li­tion of the Spring­boks, the All Blacks have been some­what enig­matic this sea­son.

At times they have pro­duced pe­ri­ods of play that made the rugby world hold its breath for the au­dac­ity, while in the same game mak­ing far too many er­rors and al­low­ing sides back into matches.

Hansen went to great lengths in the lead up to yes­ter­day’s clash to ex­plain that the in­con­sis­tency could be put down not only to other teams get­ting bet­ter, but to his own side suf­fer­ing their own grow­ing pains.

The mes­sage the 58-year-old im­parted dur­ing the week was to trust the coach­ing team and play­ers be­cause they were work­ing to a plan, would get it right and be ready for the next Rugby World Cup in Ja­pan – some­thing he felt was shown yes­ter­day.

“We are try­ing to get bet­ter all the time and have been try­ing to work on a lot of things,” said Hansen. “We were pretty clear with how we wanted to play and a lot of things came off.

“The team is grow­ing and the be­lief is grow­ing. That gives you a lot of con­fi­dence as a team.”

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