All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says that he was very proud of his team’s performance in their 36-0 hammering of the Wallabies in Auckland on Saturday.
The All Blacks have now had the Bledisloe Cup in their possession for 17 years with the Wallabies once again unable to reclaim it, after being held scoreless at Eden Park.
With much talk in the media about the Australians perhaps causing an upset, Hansen said that it was a ‘massive’ achievement for his team to retain the famous cup.
‘As we’ve talked about for many years now, outside of the World Cup it’s the most important trophy we have. We seem to have this thing in World Cup years where we come to that final game and have to win it,’ commented Hansen post-game.
‘It’s just a nice feeling to be able to say “not on my watch”.’
‘When they play as well as they did tonight, you’re just extremely proud of them. Seven days is a long time in sport. This week they’ve worked hard, and everyone has done their job from the analysts right through to the players. You’ve just got to be proud of them.’
Having replaced Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith in the starting team, young wings George Bridge and Sevu Reece looked comfortable playing at the highest level with Hansen lauding them on their performances.
‘You don’t put people in your team if you don’t expect them to be able to play at that level.’
‘I’ve seen enough of them now to know they can cope being an All Black. I think everybody saw what happened. They both played really well.’
Hansen went on to commend his team on the discipline they showed as well as their much-improved defensive performance.
‘Stormy [Defence coach Scott McLeod] has come with a plan this year on how he wants us to defend. He’s driving that well and deserves a lot of credit, so we’re very happy.’
‘To be able to keep a team like Australia to a doughnut is very pleasing. But that also tells you what the attitude was like, because when you talk about attitude you’ll always see it in the defence.’