All Blacks: Don't call it a dead rubber; Otago Daily Times Article
October 16, 2013, 18:17:13
By Steve Hepburn
Dead rubber? Don't tell Steve Hansen that.
The All Black coach arrived in Dunedin yesterday and though the side is coming together two days later than a normal test week, it was quickly down to business.
Hansen is a man with high standards. And he does not expect to drop them this Saturday night against the Wallabies, despite the All Blacks already having bagged the Bledisloe Cup for another summer.
Hansen said the side is not going to wallow in the afterglow of its last game, the title-winning victory over the Springboks at Ellis Park. He said this game was a perfect one for the side.
"This team needs this game. This is an ideal game to play. If we want to make statements this is an opportunity. We have come off a great win, and everyone has given us a pat on the back," Hansen said.
"But we have got two choices. We can either be like pigs in the muck and roll in it and see how good we are. Or we can get back to work and say we are better than that and improve our game.'
The All Blacks do not have to look back too far to get hunger for this Saturday night.
Last year, the side went to Brisbane in a similar position as this season.
Two wins in the Bledisloe Cup and the series in the bag, but at Suncorp Stadium the team stumbled to a rather ugly and forgettable 18-18 draw, and to most in the team that seemed like a loss.
Hansen admitted that result would drive the players this week.
"I think what happened last year is motivation in itself. And that seems to be the attitude in the group. We want to be better. You are never going to be perfect but you want to strive to be better, and that is a good attitude to have.'
The side had a solid training run at Forsyth Barr Stadium yesterday and was looking fresh after a couple of extra days at home.
Hansen said the players would not be loaded down with information and be fully focused on the match.
"As coaches we have to make sure we do not flood them with too much rubbish. Just make sure there is real clarity about what we want to do. Make sure there is an intensity of what we are up to.
"We have to progress from where we were and our last performance. If we sit and be comfortable than someone will come screaming past us.'
The side would have its second and last full training run tomorrow afternoon at the stadium. Hansen would name his team tomorrow morning and would not be drawn on who would wear the No 10 jersey.
Aaron Cruden, though his knee was heavily bandaged yesterday, got through training comfortably yesterday, and would appear to be in contention to start the test.
Hansen admitted Beauden Barrett has closed games off well while there was also the option of Tom Taylor.
The Wallabies will travel to Queenstown today and also name its team tomorrow. It will bus to Dunedin on Friday before a run at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday afternoon.
- Otago Daily Times