Rugby Championship

Hansen eyeing big finish against Wales

2017-11-20 13:04
Steve Hansen (Getty)

Cape Town - All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen is expecting more of the same approach Scotland took when his side take on Wales in Cardiff on Saturday. 

He wasn't reading too much into the 13-6 Welsh effort against Georgia at the weekend because the Welsh team to play the All Blacks would be more like the one that lost 29-21 to Australia a week earlier. 

That game showed him that Welsh coach Warren Gatland looked to be trying to change his side's style of play to use the ball more. 

"That is a real positive thing for rugby at the moment, everyone wants to play, so it's good for the game," Hansen told the All Blacks' official website. 

Wing Rieko Ioane was unlikely to be available to play against Wales as he has suffered a rotator cuff injury in his shoulder. 

The team was excited about the challenges, which always tend to be different to some other British sides, when facing Wales, a long-time rival. 

"No one is thinking about the last game of the year, they are thinking more about the challenges we have got ahead of us," said Hansen. 

One of the key points of 2017 was that it was a year of road bumps, akin to that experienced by New Zealand in 2009 from which the side kicked on to be a World Cup-winning side in 2011. 

"There's seven people from the 2015 World Cup team in this squad," added Hansen. 

"When you hear that, there's a hell of a lot of experience gone out the door, either injured or left. And only three starters, so two years later you're still trying to capture that experience and understanding of how to play the game. 

"That's what I keep saying to people. I thought 2016 would be a tough year but we got through it pretty well and unscathed from an adversity point of view, apart from the Chicago event. 

"But this year we've had to work hard and it's been good for us. It's put us in places mentally where we've got to go inside ourselves and find the strength and the courage to get the job done, and by and large we've done that. 

"It's been a good year for the team because we've had to grow." 

Hansen said the side had been disappointed in their effort against Scotland and there was a feeling they wanted to play a really good Test match against Wales. 

"This is the last Test for the year and they'll want to do it well," he said.


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