'They are just going to get better and better and better' - Kiwi boss Steve Hansen lauds Ireland's character
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen believes that Ireland “are going places” after facing them in two enthralling battles in the last three weeks.
In 2013, it took a last-gasp try to beat Ireland. Two weeks ago, Ireland were victorious for the first time ever over the All Blacks while this evening, the best team in the world were pushed close again.
New Zealand were full value for their win in Dublin as they atoned for the defeat in Chicago but Hansen believes that Ireland have improved since the defeat at the same venue three years ago.
“It was pretty tough in 2013. I think they probably should have won that game. We stole it really, rather than won it,” Hansen admitted.
“The one thing now is that there is an expectation within them that they should be winning Test matches and I think that comes from simply that - winning Test matches.
“They won in Chicago. I thought they could go one or two ways. They could get excited by that and let their feet come off the floor or they could really dig in and get the resolve to do it again.
“I think we saw out there tonight and they dug in and got the resolve. They’re disappointed that they didn’t win today and I think that’s a great thing for Irish rugby.
“I think there is a willingness and a desire to be better all the time when you listen to them talking when they do their media or when they’re in the paper.
“That’s a sign of a good team that is going places. So I think if they play with there same character that they played with against us, I think they’ll just get better, better and better and they’ll be harder and harder to beat.”
Hansen was in a spiky mood when questioned about his side’s lack of discipline and although he gave a simple one word “yeah” answer when asked if he would speak to his players about their high tackles, he felt that referee Jaco Peyper was inconsistent.
“Without seeing the tapes, I can’t say that all the penalties are right or wrong but the ref said they were,” Hansen insisted.
“He’s seen us make 14 mistakes. The yellow cards - one was for coming around and attacking the half back, again I can’t argue with it but what I would say though is that I would like to see some consistency throughout the same game because I saw the same things happening to us and no one got penalised let alone yellow carded.
“The other yellow card for the high tackle was clumsy. I don’t think it was malicious. It didn’t impede him, he carried on playing. In fact, it didn’t even stop him. You just want consistency and when we look at the tape, we’ll see how consistent it was.”