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.
With their toughest pool opposition disposed of – although Japan’s toppling of South Africa showed nothing is certain – the All Blacks should have an untroubled run against Namibia, Georgia and Tonga before the quarter-finals.
From the spectators view, New Zealand had some anxious moments.
“There was also lots of apprehension”, Hansen said.
“He is the best 12 in world rugby… world class”.
“But if you get wound up about it, it’s not going to help you”.
“Normally we’d go further in before making substitutions”, Hansen said.
They started well. They rode smoothly to 9-0 on the back of Dan Carter penalties through the first quarter.
Argentina, while down a man, scored the first try of the match through lock Guido Petti Pagadizaval.
Replacement hooker Keven Mealamu referred to the Agustin Creevy-led Argentina as the “masters of the scrums”.
The All Blacks were extremely vulnerable once centre Smith joined skipper Richie McCaw in the sinbin at the end of the first half, and although they got away with it thanks to a dominant second-half performance to win 26-16, it was an experience they don’t want to repeat in a knockout fixture. Hansen called them dumb penalties that won’t be repeated.
The Exchange has New Zealand as 21.5 point favourites paying [2.00].
The introduction of Williams in the 46th minute in place of an under-par Ma’a Nonu gave the All Blacks some much-needed spark and despite playing less than half a game the former NRL star already tops the tournament offloads chart with five.
The fact that they were reduced to 13 men late in the first half was a concern though, McCaw binned for a stupid trip, followed by Smith cynically killing the ball as Argentina attacked. Argentina’s discipline was poor and the Pumas looked ripe for a beating, but they fought back immediately scoring the only try of the half.
Samoa got off to an 11-3 lead before Chris Wyles scored a U.S. try to bring them within three of their opponents.
Full-back Liam Williams, the stand-in for the injured Leigh Halfpenny, and props Paul James and Samson Lee suffered blows as the Welsh squad continued to be decimated.
One unimpressive win and a shock loss involving two of the glamour Rugby World Cup sides is no indicator of how the tournament is shaping, according to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
You could only imagine the excitement in the Matawai Road home of David and Annie Bull, watching with their daughter Annabel as husband Michael played all 84 minutes – putting in a typically strong performance in a game that really lit up the world cup, after an underwhelming opening match between England and Fiji. But the business is about to start and we’re all looking forward to that because, after all, that’s why we’re here.