THE All Blacks will take the lessons learned in Saturday’s second Bledisloe Cup Test all the way to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, coach Steve Hansen says.
Having cruised through long stretches of Test rugby in 2016, Hansen’s troops have found themselves under genuine pressure this year with both the British and Irish Lions and the Wallabies giving them a run for their money.
In Saturday’s second Bledisloe in Dunedin, the Wallabies raced out to an early 17-0 lead and then appeared to steal the Test via a late Kurtley Beale try.
But a 78th-minute Beauden Barrett effort spared the All Blacks’ blushes, guiding them to a 35-29 win and preventing a first home loss to Australia in 16 years.
They also claimed the Bledisloe Cup for a 15th straight year. Hansen said challenges like those encountered on Saturday would only be beneficial for his side, having lost so much experience after the 2015 World Cup.
Rugby: Beauden Barrett’s try in the 78th minute of the Bledisloe Cup has broken the Wallabies heart and stolen victory for New Zealand.
Barrett breaks Wallaby hearts
Veteran campaigners including Aaron Cruden and Charlie Faumuina have also departed Kiwi shores since the end of the Lions series in July.
“Australia score, and (then) to be able to keep your composure, come back and score off that, that’ll be massive,” Hansen told reporters on Sunday.
“They’ll understand it’s about staying in the moment and keeping their attention where they need to keep it, and just doing the things you need to do.
“They’ll get some trust and belief out of that and grow a little stronger.”
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Injuries, concussions and personal issues combined to strip Hansen of several senior forwards on Saturday, with Owen Franks, Wyatt Crockett and Jerome Kaino absent and Sam Cane carted off early with a head knock.
In their stead, skipper Kieran Read stood tall, energetically directing his side around the park and playing a major role in Barrett’s late winner.
Hansen said it was a classic captain’s performance.
“That’s why you’ve appointed him skipper — in moments like that, you just need people to be really specific about the jobs we need,” Hansen said.
“Under the posts, he said, right, we want a short kick, I’ll get up and win it, and we’re going to do this and that and you’ll do that — and then bang.”
The All Blacks, with both Cane and Ryan Crotty under concussion clouds, will reconvene next week for their Test against Argentina in New Plymouth.
Originally published as Valuable lessons in Bledisloe win: Hansen
Source: sports dailytelegraph