Steve Hansen rebukes comments All Blacks under performing at Rugby World Cup

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen defends his team’s performance against Georgia in pool play at the Rugby World Cup.

Steve Hansen has called for some perspective after the All Blacks eased into the quarterfinals at the Rugby World Cup with a scratchy 43-10 win over Georgia.

By the time the All Blacks coach had made his way underneath the hulking Millennium Stadium he was already aware of the general view that his side had not been impressive during their third pool match.

And after a couple of suggestive questions from the media pack, Hansen decided to cut in and give his view.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen on the pitch perimeter at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

“Look, at the moment you are trying to qualify for a quarterfinal and you are trying to do things with a purpose,” Hansen said.

“Not necessarily are you trying to do everything, but you are trying to work on parts of your game – and that’s the attitude we’ve taken into this tournament.

“There are a lot of things we could have done better, yeah for sure. Our skill execution wasn’t great, but if there was one problem I’d say was easy to fix in this team it would be skill execution because we have plenty of talent.

The All Blacks manage a scrappy 43-10 bonus point win over Georgia at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

“But at the moment we are working on a few other things and the things we were working on tonight went pretty good. Would you say our game was great, no, but it doesn’t have to be yet.

“You don’t get gold medals for winning these games, you just get to qualify and I think we did that tonight.”

In other words, the All Blacks are slowly, but steadily putting together pieces of a puzzle they’re not keen to reveal to the world. And while they do it their game, as a whole, might not look quite as complete as people would like.

Hansen said the second tier nations had closed the gap on the rest of the world considerably since the 2011 World Cup and were now presenting a genuine contest. And he was adamant that would be a good thing for the All Blacks as they moved toward the knockout stages.

“At the start of this tournament everyone thought it was going to be easy and we wouldn’t get the problems we’d have to face later in the tournament. What I’ve found and what we’ve found so far is we’ve had little bits of problem solving we’ve had to do.

“Another one tonight was the shooter coming out, the sole defence coming out and that’s something we have to get better and better at. It’s nice to be put under that pressure.

“It would be great if we were winning by more points, but it doesn’t do anything for us. What we are getting at the moment is great. It’s making us go away and think about our game and work on various parts of it and getting them better.”

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw shared a similar view. Though he was still not happy with the team’s handling, he believed they had lifted a notch in the physicality stakes against a big Georgian pack.

“They are big boys who hoe in and it was pretty physical out there.. I thought for a lot of the game, especially up front and defensively we took a step up.

“If you look at the game as a whole it was a little disappointing some of the errors we made, but that’s an easy thing to fix.

“We are under no illusions it wasn’t perfect out there, but some of the intensity in the contact areas was definitely a step up.”

McCaw said he’d left the field with a sore quadricep, but was not in any doubt for next week’s match against Tonga and would have stayed on had his coaches subbed him.

– Stuff

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