Wallabies showed potential in Dunedin: Hansen

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies surprised plenty in Dunedin on Saturday night, but All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was not one of those.

Australia turned a 54-34 drubbing in Sydney into a 35-29 effort just a week later, when asked if it was a turning point for the Wallabies, Hansen said he didn’t feel they needed a watershed moment.

“It's hard to tell if they've turned a corner or not,” he said.

“They've always been a good side, they played some good rugby tonight and they'll be disappointed.

“They could've easily won the match.

“I'm not sure I'd say they've turned a corner because I don't think they needed to.

“Last week, they played their first game probably most of them in four or five weeks, it's really hard when you've got a group that are battle hardened and have gone through finals football and the intensity of that allows you to play at a level.

“They finished off the game well last week and got some confidence out of that and they've come into this week and played well again.”

Hansen said the All Blacks looked frantic early on in the clash, as the Wallabies raced to a 17-0 lead after just 15 minutes.

“We were a little bit like a young fellow on his first day at school, rushing around trying to do things 100 miles an hour and we weren't very accurate,” he said.

“If Damian (McKenzie) had thrown that over the top of (Israel) Folau, Bender(Ben Smith) probably would've scored,” he said.

“(If) the big fella had made the tackle on Hooper we would've stopped the maul and then when the scrum's going back like it was and we made a poor read defensively from Aaron (Smith) on Will (Genia) and he was good enough to capitalise on it.

“Australia played well, they were given opportunities and they took them and stayed in the game the whole way through.”

It was an emotional night for New Zealand rugby, with the match also acting as a tribute for the late Sir Colin Meads and captain Kieran Read said he could only imagine what ‘Pine tree’ would have said about the Dunedin nailbiter.

“I think he would've said it was a pretty darn good game and he'd be pretty happy I'm sure that the All Blacks got on top.”

The All Blacks next play in a fortnight, hosting Argentina in their third Rugby Championship Test.