Hansen says All Blacks 'won the Lotto' in sluggish victory over Argentina
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen brushed off criticism of his All Black players after their sluggish opening to the Rugby Championship, claiming the experience of the 20-16 Buenos Aires success was akin to winning the Lotto.
The All Blacks were missing several big names, including their Super Rugby-winning Crusaders contingent, but still led 20-9 at half-time after tries from Ngani Laumape and Brodie Retallick.
However, they failed to score in the second-half, the Pumas cutting the gap with a 47th-minute Emiliano Boffelli try, and were indebted to their defence for denying the Pumas a first victory over New Zealand in 29 Tests.
"When you take all the leadership we've taken out with all the Crusaders not here... to have the opportunity for this group to go through with what they went through today is like winning the Lotto," said Hansen.
"Our accuracy and combinations weren't there, but they stayed in the moment and trusted themselves. We left four or five (tries) out there. We've learnt a lot about a lot of people this week... both new and old."
Meanwhile, South Africa captain Siya Kolisi will take no part in this year's Rugby Championship after he was left out of the squad for the Springboks' remaining matches away in New Zealand and Argentina.
Loose-forward Kolisi is recovering from a knee injury sustained for the Stormers in Super Rugby in May, with his priority now to be ready for the Boks' opening game of the Rugby World Cup in Japan against New Zealand on September 21.
International Rugby Newsletter
Loose forward Marco van Staden and utility back Dillyn Leyds were released to their franchises in other changes from the squad that defeated Australia 35-17 in their opener at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Scrum-half Herschel Jantjies scored two tries on his stunning Springboks debut, while Lood De Jager, S'busiso Nkosi and Cobus Reinach also dotted down for Rassie Erasmus's side.
The visitors' tries came via out-half Bernard Foley and wing Dane Haylett-Petty, but they were comprehensively outplayed in Johannesburg.
"You don't want to praise a guy too much, but you can't do anything other than praise him after the way he played," Erasmus said of Jantjies after the match.
"If you look at where he was in the Currie Cup last year, and to see him in Test match rugby now… his service, his box kicks, the technical things and the grit on defence, as well as the way he attacked. It was just awesome."