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Sunday August 18, 2013 MYT 11:52:02 AM
Sunday August 18, 2013 MYT 11:52:43 AM
by nick mulvenney
Steve Hansen, the new All Blacks coach, walks infront of a pre-match performance just before his team's test match against Ireland at Eden Park in Auckland, June 9, 2012. REUTERS/Nigel Marple
SYDNEY (Reuters) - New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was not remotely concerned that his side's thumping win over Australia in the Rugby Championship would translate into complacency ahead of next week's return match in Wellington.
Hansen was clearly enjoying himself in the news conference after the 47-29 victory, opening with a "told you so" lecture to those who doubted whether captain Richie McCaw should start on his return from sabbatical and whether Aaron Cruden was good enough to stand in for Dan Carter at flyhalf.
Cruden's man of the match performance, which included a charge-down for a try, was just one of many aspects of the game that gave Hansen good reason to be satisfied but there were no smug smiles when he was asked about sport's dreaded "c" word.
"One of the strengths of All Blacks team, in history, is they are very good at looking at the things they didn't do well. And when we reflect on this game, we'll do that," he told reporters.
"We'll look at the stuff we need to fix up and do better and there's quite a bit. That's my gut feeling from what I saw.
"A lot of things we did great but there's still a lot we need to tidy up.
"Our leaders are very important in this area, they'll keep driving the team. It's important to be a winning team but you've got to keep humble and your feet on the floor because you've got to win again next week."
A victory in Wellington next week would give New Zealand a superb start to their campaign to retain the Rugby Championship title, which they won with six wins out of six last year, as well as maintain their decade-long grip on the Bledisloe Cup.
McCaw, whose 117th test earned him an incredible 103rd victory in the All Black shirt, indicated that the team's leadership group would indeed be stamping down on the tiniest scintilla of complacency.
"There's very, very little between these teams and if you don't get the prep right and you don't get up and put your performance out there, you'll come second," he said.
"If you start thinking you are better than you are, you'll tip up. I think it's the greatest challenge in sport to back up performance after performance.
"It's easy when you have a bad one or come second to get that motivation, it's being able to do that when you have had a win that's important."
The All Blacks returned to Wellington on Sunday, flying into a city rocked by the magnitude 6.5 earthquake which struck south of the capital on Friday.
Aftershocks have continued throughout the weekend but safety officials will check the venue for next weekend's test on Monday and they were "not anticipating any major issues".
After an earthquake destroyed large parts of Christchurch in 2011, the All Blacks were acutely aware of the emotional impact of such shakes but planned to prepare as normal.
"It's frightening, there's no doubt about that, anybody who says they're not frightened in those circumstances is kidding themselves, but we'll just deal with it the way we have to," Hansen said.
"We'll just put a few precautionary things in place. You can live your life in fear or you can say, 'well look, I'm just gonna live my life'. And we have a choice about that. Our choice will be to live our life and deal with what comes along."
(Editing by Ian Ransom)
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