All Blacks respect Anzac rivals - Hansen
The All Blacks respect Australia immensely, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said in response to comment by his Wallabies rival Michael Cheika, after Saturday's 37-10 win at Eden Park, that New Zealand didn't respect his side.
Hansen said over the years there had been fierce competition and things happen but that didn't mean you didn't respect them.
"Our guys respect them a lot, we went to war with these guys. At what point does winning mean you are not respecting them?" he asked.
At the outset of the press conference Hansen said he wanted to credit Australia for the 'fantastic game of rugby' they played. The All Blacks dressing room reflected what a tough game it had been, he said.
"It was just the sort of game if you were going to break a record on that you would want so you could be proud of the record. We're very proud that we've got to 18 but we didn't do it easy, we had to work hard for it and it took until that 60-65-minute mark until we actually got really on top," he said.
Hansen said the turning point had probably been when they didn't get Henry Speight's try awarded due to obstruction on wing Julian Savea. The All Blacks had taken a bit of a charge about that and Australia had possibly gone a little flat, he said.
"We certainly came back, our subs came on and played particularly well again as we have asked them to do all season," he said.
The All Blacks had been losing ball in the first half and had been put under defensive pressure as a result and they had scrambled and worked hard for each other. And in the second half they had started to make some dominant hits on the front foot.
Captain Keiran Read said it had been a big week due to the intensity of the game and the record at the end of it.
The game had been like a final, it had a lot on it which was different to the usual sort of game and while they had achieved the record, it had been a tough contest and that made the record all the more memorable.
"It was hard out there, it was tough. They put us under a lot of pressure but the boys responded. It took a little time but I'm really pleased with the way they did," he said.
The All Blacks hadn't been able to put any pressure on during the first half and they needed to respect the ball more.
There's no right for our team to finish on top, you have got to keep working hard," he said.
Hansen said flanker Matt Todd had been 'very, very good'. He stole a lot of ball early and carried well when he had to and Ardie Savea had done likewise when he came on to complement each other well.
Hansen was also delighted with wing Julian Savea's display.
"When you see a player go through what he went through and struggle and come out the other side – we know he is a world-class player when he can play well and in the big moment today he stood up so you've got to be very pleased for him," he said.
Hansen said first five-eighths Beauden Barrett had been struggling with illness all week as the result of an ear infection and to have someone like Aaron Cruden to call on had been great with his experience and leadership ability.
In regard to the controversies in the game, the ruling out of an Australian try by referee Nigel Owens and the denial of a try to hooker Dane Coles, Hansen said it was a reminder that rugby was a tough game to referee and sometimes you got the rub and sometimes you didn't.
It was a case of moving on from it and going away and getting better.
"That's what we do every week. We're never satisfied with what we've done but we know the rub of the green sometimes doesn't go our way in the course of the game too.