AB’s engine room wins rave reviews

The All Blacks coaching staff raved about the performance of the tight five in the 32-12 Vodacom Tri Nations win against Australia.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw was equally approving of the front five.

“It was put on ourselves that we had to dominate there first and foremost. We had a scrum we were hopeful could put them under pressure, and the lineout we had to be confident with. Those two areas are the start and finish with test matches, so a lot of credit goes to them. We’d been building during the week, the excitement was there and it paid off tonight,” McCaw told the media.

Forwards coach Steve Hansen was as impressed.

“We hoped we could dominate,” said Hansen. “We felt we had a scrum that could do the business if we worked together and a lineout that could generate us good starters and put them under a bit of pressure on their ball. We’re obviously very, very happy.”

Even backs coach Wayne Smith pointed to the forwards, in particular McCaw.

“If we’re honest the quality of the ball and speed of the ball made all the difference,” said Smith. “We played off the back of an outstanding pack, and it wasn’t just the tight five – I thought Richie had a huge game. That freed up a lot quick ball for us, and the backs would tell you it’s much easier playing off that and going forward than what the Aussie backs had to play off. It’s hard to judge but I thought the whole 15 went well.

“We talk about team attack. It’s not back attack or forward attack, it’s two units trying to get a bit of synergy really. At times it was good and I thought we played pretty well given the short amount of time we’d been together.”