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Coach Hansen to keep All Blacks on their toes
Being an Asian and with the next World Cup scheduled to be held in Asia, I am rooting for them to causing a few upsets and reach the quarterfinals.
The All Blacks won 26-16, but the biggest ever crowd at a Rugby World Cup game was treated to a New Zealand side struggling to handle swarming Argentines for the middle 40 minutes.
But he bemoaned the “breathlessness” under an All Blacks stranglehold in the last half hour that saw them rush decisions and gift possession too easily, keeping them on the back foot and allowing New Zealand to recover from a 16-12 deficit.
The game didn’t get off to the best of starts for the All Blacks, two of their most experienced players were sent to the sin bin towards the end of the first half. “Watching Georgia [17-10 winners over Tonga] the other day, they’re massive men and they’ll take some encouragement about what happened in Brighton [Japan’s 34-32 win over South Africa] as well”.
This was supposed to be a relatively comfortable opener for the All Blacks, who have never lost to the Pumas and beat them 39-18 in July.
But the 30-year-old says New Zealand are aware, after South Africa’s shock loss to Japan on Saturday, that the rest of their Pool C contests are not a formality as Namibia, Georgia and Tonga will prove stern tests.
Sean Fitzpatrick, another great All Blacks captain, copped a similar amount of flak from opposition fans and Richie will not let it bother him during the World Cup.
“What it does for the likes of the Uruguays and Namibias and those lower-order teams is give them a change of mindset that “we can compete if we prepare well”.
“But that’s the challenge that we’ve got ahead of us and it is a huge challenge”, he said.
It was only the third yellow card of McCaw’s career, but easily the most needless as he tripped Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe when he was trying to take a quick tap penalty.
“It shows that teams are on the rise at our level”, said Tolkin.
“I don’t think you can blame the preparation”, he said, citing “bad luck” for the squad’s ills. A slip is not a fall, we keep learning a lot from them.
Hansen hailed his bench for injecting energy and urgency in the second half as the All Blacks wore down their combative opponents after trailing for 56 minutes at Wembley Stadium. “If you get wound up it’s not going to help you”.
Leading at half time, despite giving away nine points in the first quarter due to an indisciplined pack, the Pumas displayed not only the strength of these burly forwards but, in a surprise, a better open game than the All Blacks. But Wales’ win came at a cost with centre Corey Allen, who scored a first-half hat-trick, forced off with a torn hamstring.