Steve Hansen effusive after big first up win
DAVID LONG AND MARC HINTON
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen couldn't have got off to a better start as the team's coach and was giving out praise to everyone after the 42-10 win over Ireland at Eden Park.
The victory puts the All Blacks on the front foot for the three-test series.
"I'd just like to congratulate our three debutants [Julian Savea, Brodie Retallick and Aaron Smith]," Hansen said after the test.
"I thought all three of them did particularly well. Brodie did a lot of work that was probably unseen and unrewarded, but he did what he had to do from a team point of view very well.
"Clearly Aaron at halfback was simply outstanding, he made some great decisions and his clearing of the ball was fantastic and the young man on the wing wasn't too bad either, three tries on debut was pretty handy.
"But he did what we picked him to do.
"The thing that pleased me most of all was not the debutant, it was the leaders in the team, our senior players.
"They could have easily come into this game and been comfortable.
"All week they've displayed an enthusiasm and excitement and commitment to get the job done and they led the way, so a lot of praise should be given to those guys.
"I'd also like to thank the other coaches because they've had a great week, their first week involved with the All Blacks.
"We saw some of the work the guy beside me [Ian Foster] has been doing in the way we scored tries.
Hansen said it was the team's plan to continue to honour the black jersey and that's exactly what the team did.
"We started the week out with one purpose and that was to have a performance that we'd be proud of and we've got to be proud of what we did tonight," he said.
"Given the circumstances of this being the first time we'd come together as a team called the All Blacks.
"Clearly there is a fair bit to work on and a lot of the combinations and gelling will come with time."
Hansen said it would be interesting to see what changes Ireland would make to their game plan for Saturday's second test in Christchurch.
"The interesting thing is we've got a three match test series and clearly they'll go away and analyse what we did and try to put things into place to stop it.
"They'll look at their own game and look to improve that as well, that's exactly what we have to do, to look at the things in our game and we have to be a step ahead.
"They're going to look at what we can do different to take advantage."
Skipper Richie McCaw said he’d been rapt with the senior leadership but, with 104 tests now behind him, he also understands that you have to move on, and move on quick.
“We won’t get too carried away because it wasn’t perfect by any stretch. We’ve got to be very happy but come tomorrow we’ll be looking forward to the next one. That’s the challenge of playing test rugby, you’ve got to get straight back on the horse for next week.”
- Fairfax Media
Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?