Complacency a concern for All Blacks

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The All Blacks are working hard to ward off complacency ahead of the second Bledisloe Test, coach Steve Hansen says.

After a 42-8 thrashing of the Wallabies last weekend, Hansen said he was expecting a “different picture” to be painted on Saturday night, by a determined Wallabies side.

“It's (complacency) a massive concern because one of the hardest things to do is back up against an opposition when you've beaten them,” he said.

“Two things happen - one, they affirm in their resolve to play better and [two] sometimes teams can relax and think the job's done.

“So, it's about mentally controlling your thought patterns both individually and collectively as a group and getting your feet back on the ground firmly and trying to not subconsciously relax.

“It's about getting your bums from the back of the seat to the edge of it and having that edge that we had last week.

“We prepared really well last week, both physically and mentally and to be in the game this week we have to do the same thing.”

Hansen said as much as they could keep their own preparation the same, they needed to be aware of a new-look, more desperate Wallabies outfit in Wellington.

“The picture won't be the same, the painting we drew last week will totally be different because the opposition will be different for a start and we're going to have to find a way to win being different and that's again the sign of a good team, if they can do that,” he said.

“It's a good challenge for us and we'll learn some more about ourselves after this game.”

Ben Smith will play fullback on Saturday. Photo: Getty ImagesNew Zealand has moved to combat an Australian side that Hansen predicts will kick more by naming Israel Dagg on the wing, effectively giving them three fullback options in their lineup.

The Wallabies have heaped the praise on the All Blacks this week, reminding everyone of their opponent’s number one world ranking but Hansen said he wouldn’t be taken Australia lightly.

“We've got a big task in front of us,” he said.

“Australia are going to turn up and chuck the kitchen sink at us I should imagine.

“They've had a big week back over there with their own disappointment plus the media and their own fans having a crack at them.

“We'd be foolish to think they're not going to turn up and play really well.”