Friday 22 February 2019

'People are gutted' - Steve Hansen laments 'dumb penalties' and concedes the All Blacks' number one status

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen arrives at the stadium prior to the Guinness Series International match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen arrives at the stadium prior to the Guinness Series International match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was magnanimous in defeat but pointed to his side's poor discipline in the opening 40 minutes as an issue that will need to be rectified.

The clash of the top two sides didn't disappoint as the Grand Slam champions edged their southern hemisphere rivals in an epic encounter.

Ireland led 9-6 at the break but could have been further in front after relentless pressure resulted in a penalty count of eight to one in the host's favour.

A moment of individual magic from Jacob Stockdale in the second half would ultimately decide the game.

Hansen took aim at his players after the game for the concession of avoidable penalties.

"I'd like to congratulate Ireland," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. "They played outstandingly well and they took their opportunity and we didn't take ours.

"I thought our discipline let us down a wee bit in the first half. The effort was world class but the execution was not what we would have liked and we were just beaten by a better team.

"Out and out some of the penalties in the first half were dumb. Is that because we made a mistake and tried to fix it up. They were avoidable penalties so we will give ourselves an upper cut and try to fix things up.

"We tried to force things. Rieko made a break and we could have finished that off. But we threw it away. Beauds made a break but we didn't finish it off. That is the nature of rugby and when you play a good rugby side like Ireland it comes back to bite you."

Defeats sting for the All Blacks because they are very rare.

Hansen was asked if Ireland are now the team to beat in Japan next year, he responded: "You will make them favourites.

"What it does do is make them as of now the number one team in the world and I guess that does make them favourites [for the World Cup].

"Our decision-making wasn't as good as it could have been. They are disappointed. You don't win as many rugby matches as this team has and then when you get beaten it hurts.

"Regardless of who you play and how well the opposition play. People are gutted and that is the way it should be when you are beaten."

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