All Blacks still have a lot of learning to do
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP SPOTLIGHT: All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen believes his team’s performance in their 34-36 loss to the Springboks was their worst since the 2007 World Cup quarterfinal loss to France.
Hansen admitted that his team’s game management was awful in Wellington last weekend and he believes he is “partly” to blame for that.
“Our game management was next to zero,” Hansen told Fairfax. “There has been a lot of talk about our defence coach and Wayne Smith being missed. Our defence coach [Scott McLeod] is going to be one of the best coaches in the world given time. We let in five tries but two were from attack, and one a driving maul.”
“Our game management was the biggest problem. It’s partly the leadership, and it’s partly my fault because I haven’t given them enough understanding of what to do. No one is going to get hung out to dry because of a loss. We’ve all got to learn from it, and move on.”
Hansen said despite the result the team would be better for it and referred back to the 2007 World Cup quarterfinal defeat to France.
“That’s the last time I can remember a game that was so poorly managed, and it was because of the pressure of the scoreboard and the event.
“This time the same thing happened and we got too individualistic. All we had to do was take a big breath, maybe take a shot at goal in the 66th minute, then score a try, and that gives you the eight points you need to get in front.
“A dropped goal wouldn’t be bad either, would it,” Hansen said. “We couldn’t do one of those in ’07 either because it’s not the thing that the five-eighth [flyhalf] at that time was used to doing. It’s not one Beauden has done… those things they stay with you because this time it really hurt.
“This team hasn’t had much adversity. When you say Beauden will learn, I think we all will. I’m meant to be the teacher and they’re meant to be the students, so I’ve now got a classroom of students who want to listen.”
The All Blacks will have another chance to show what they have learned in October when they meet South Africa for a rematch in Pretoria. Hansen’s side will first resume their campaign next weekend against Argentina in Buenos Aires.