All Blacks pumped for Championship finale
September 29, 2013
All Blacks captain Kieran Read is taking some positives out of his side's second-half display © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said his side's 33-15 bonus point win over Argentina on Sunday (AEST) sets up a great finale to the Rugby Championship against South Africa at Ellis Park on Saturday.
South Africa go into the game five points behind New Zealand but with the knowledge they enjoy a superior points differential which could see them claim the title if they win with four tries.
"They are going to have to play some rugby. That will suit us as much as it will suit them," Hansen told SKY Television after the game.
New Zealand now need to recover well and back that up in South Africa and prepare for a big Test match.
"Our guys are looking forward to it, they're already started talking about it so I don't think there will be any problem getting them up," he said. "It was nothing more than we expected. They are a side that is getting better all the time. They're very, very good up front and they tried to play a bit of rugby today and played it quite well so we had to work for it, and the bonus point right at the end was exactly that, a bonus for us."
Hansen felt the All Blacks' scrum problems were due to a groin problem tighthead prop Owen Franks suffered early in the game and the issues were resolved when Charlie Faumuina came on to replace him.
"We were a lot clearer with what we wanted to do in the second half, we kicked a lot better, got a lot more urgent ... and as a result of that we started going forward," he said.
Hansen said he had been eager to get the bonus point-try in what proved the final act of the game.
Captain Kieran Read said: "It was a very tough game. They came out firing and kept the crowd in it throughout that first half. We probably just weren't there but full credit to the way the Argentineans came at us. It's going to be a big match next week. We've got to recover well. It's a long flight tomorrow but we've got to take the positives out of tonight. I thought that early part of the second half was great from our point of view, so we'll build on that for next week."
Pumas captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe said opposition pressure led to a lack of discipline from his team and that was why the All Blacks were the best team in the world.
Hooker Keven Mealamu enjoyed the contest and is eagerly awaiting next weekend's decider in South Africa.
"That's all we play for as All Blacks and as rugby players. Those are the opportunities that we look forward to," he said.
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