Steve Hansen lauds near flawless All Blacks

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 23:00 23/08/2014

All Blacks retain Bledisloe, but where to now?

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CHRIS SKELTON/ Fairfax NZ Zoom
Ryan Crotty surges on the break in a stellar first half from the centre in his first start for the All Blacks.

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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen lauded an almost flawless display in tonight's 51-20 Bledisloe Cup win over Australia at Eden Park.

After a try-less draw against Australia last week, the All Blacks cruised to the victory they needed to retain the silverware in Auckland tonight.

Hansen said after a solid week of training, he knew his side were ready to fire.

"They played pretty well and you've got to be proud of that. As a result we get to keep the old girl [Bledisloe Cup], so that's a great thing," Hansen said.

"We knew we'd had a good week and there was definitely a resolve to play well. The week before was disappointing.

"I could tell we were always in the game, there was intensity in the defence and we were coming forward in that first 20 minutes."

Hansen did, however, criticise captain Richie McCaw for an unnecessary yellow card in the first half, and a period in the second half which saw his side twice let the Wallabies in over the try line.

"The yellow card by us was dumb," Hansen said.

"And we went to sleep for 10 minutes which was a bit disappointing, we gave them a couple of soft tries, particularly the second one. We gave them space to run and that's something to work on."

McCaw acknowledged his error, describing it as a "black mark" on the win.

"Yeah, 10 minutes in the naughty boy chair. I'm just happy the boys didn't give away too many points, I made it hard on them - it's a black mark there, but never mind," he said.

However, McCaw said he was proud of the performance and it means a lot to his side to keep the Bledisloe Cup.

"Undoubtedly. I'm just so proud of the boys. It's not like we'd lost, come Monday last week. We really put the effort in and there was a steely resolve to go out there and perform and the guys did that for 80 minutes today. I'm very happy," he said.

"It's important. That cup means a lot, the boys wanted to put a performance together - we knew we could lock it up for another year if we performed tonight. To put in a performance like that - pretty proud."

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