Hansen’s lineout headache

Steve Hansen has defended hookers Andrew Hore and Keven Mealamu following the All Blacks’ lineout shambles in Bloemfontein.

The visitors were dominated by the Boks at this set piece, with Victor Matfield appearing to have cracked their codes. Their hookers were also guilty of failing to find their jumpers, with a couple going over the top.

‘We can blame the thrower but at the same time you could turn around and blame the jumper or the lifter. It’s a combination of things,’ Hansen told stuff.co.nz.

The All Blacks forwards coach said the Boks had an advantage at the lineout because of their lifters’ height, and Matfield’s ability to move around.

‘Matfield is so good on his feet that he covers a lot of space and he puts himself in the game at lineout time by just getting up there, and half a lift from a bloke as tall as they are puts them [the throwers] marginally out then you are in trouble.

‘And that margin could come from your throwers, it could come from your jumpers, it could come from your lifters so I am not going to pinpoint any one person.’

Hansen said the All Blacks’ lineout problems could be solved before the Durban Test.

‘I hope we can fix it, otherwise it’s going to be a pretty tough old campaign for myself. They’re pretty fixable. It’s just getting the right calls and getting everyone switched on at lineout time. Hopefully we can find the space to win some clean ball.’