All Blacks fire Rugby Championship warning

2016-06-25 17:30
Kieran Read (Gallo Images)

Dunedin - With a three-Test whitewash against Wales, 16 tries and signs of a wealth of new talent coming through, the All Blacks feel they have fired a powerful warning shot ahead of the Rugby Championship.

Coach Steve Hansen could not disguise his pleasure after his new era All Blacks wrapped up the Welsh series with a 46-6 drubbing in Dunedin on Saturday.

"There's still lots of our game that we have to improve on," he said.

"But if anyone had said you're going to lose 818 caps and come out and do what we've done over the last three weeks you'd be very happy."

There were suggestions the world champions would be weakened like Samson without his hair following the loss of several senior players after winning the World Cup last year.

They included the departure of centurions Richie McCaw and Dan Carter as well as the midfield pairing of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith who had nearly 200 Tests between them.

"Not many Test teams would carry on as if that never happened, particularly with the quality of people we lost," Hansen said.

"If you look at what we've achieved, we've won the series 3-0, got better each game, we've blooded a lot of new people. Is our game where we want it to be? No. But it never is."

The dominance of the All Blacks pack to feed an outside backs combination that tormented Wales with pace and accuracy would not have gone unnoticed by Rugby Championship rivals Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

"It'll hold us in good stead going into the Championship later in the year," said new captain Kieran Read.

Even Wales coach Warren Gatland, himself a former All Black, was impressed with the depth of talent available to Hansen to seamlessly mould a new side.

"I thought they were absolutely outstanding," he said.

"Their back three caused us a lot of problems in terms of the pace, some of the mismatches and their counter attacking was absolutely superb.

"The big thing for us, even though you talk about it and work on it at training is that collision dominance at the breakdown just in terms of that acceleration into the contact area.

"That was definitely a difference between the two sides."

Wales had their chances in the third Test and enjoyed 62 percent of possession and 58 percent of territory yet were kept tryless by a ruthless All Blacks defence.

After scoring five tries in each of the first two Tests, the All Blacks on limited ball went one better in the third with six tries to Ben Smith, George Moala, Beauden Barrett (2) Dane Coles and Israel Dagg.

Barrett added five conversions and two penalties while Wales were limited to two Dan Biggar penalties within the first 16 minutes.

"That was an area we really improved on," Hansen said of the All Blacks defence.

"We got off the line and we were reasonably fierce in our tackling."

The rugby championship opens in Sydney on August 20 with the All Blacks playing Australia in a rematch of last year's World Cup final in Twickenham won by the All Blacks 34-17.

Read more on:    all blacks  |  kieran read  |  rugby


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