'Proud' Hansen challenges All Blacks' discipline

Steve Hansen (Getty Images)
Steve Hansen (Getty Images)

Auckland - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen refused to get carried away by the comprehensive 36-0 thrashing of the Wallabies on Saturday, saying he was "proud" of his side but that discipline remained an issue.

It was a ruthless performance by the New Zealand at Eden Park, just five weeks before they start their World Cup defence, as they unleashed some pent-up rage after their hiding by Australia in Perth the previous week. 

Rival rugby nations would have taken careful note just how sharp the All Blacks were, but Hansen was not prepared to write off the Wallabies despite the five-tries-to-nil shellacking.

"Both teams will go to the World Cup with a big chance of winning it," he offered. 

"I was really proud of the boys, how they responded to last week. There's been a lot of things said in the media and a lot of things spoken about within the team and that creates the pressure that you have to step up to the plate."

"This week they've worked hard and everyone's done their job, from the analysts through to the players, and you've got to be proud of them." 

Much of the pressure came from media taunts, particularly from Australia, that the All Blacks were too old and their hopes of a third consecutive World Cup were a rapidly fading dream.

It was criticism that stung, and once the All Blacks had weathered the best the Wallabies could throw at them at the start of the Test, they took control midway through the first half and never looked back. 

Hansen's selection of raw wings George Bridge and Sevu Reece paid off, with both in menacing form and both rewarded with tries. 

The forwards, bossed by the Wallabies a week ago, were totally dominant. Even when hooker Dane Coles was yellow-carded, the All Blacks managed to march the Australian pack backwards with a seven-man scrum.

Coles' sinbinning for a dangerous tackle, and repeated tackle infringements by Sam Whitelock in the early stages of the match came despite captain Kieran Read's call for greater discipline after Scott Barrett was red-carded the previous week.

Hansen tempered praise of his star players, and the way his twin playmaker pairing of Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga gelled properly for the first time. 

But he did not hold back on his criticism of Coles, promising his lack of discipline would be dealt with.

"He's a man who plays with a lot of intent, a lot of attitude in every game he's played in, including last week, so you're going to get moments where he could do something that you would probably classify as dumb," Hansen said. 

"And that was right up there as good as it can get when you're dumb."

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