All Blacks wary of improving Wallabies

first_imgThe All Blacks have already secured the Bledisloe Cup, backing up the 54-34 trouncing in Sydney with a series-clinching comeback in Dunedin.But after that narrow escape, and having witnessed Australia’s draw in South Africa and win in Argentina since, Hansen and the side have arrived in Brisbane wary of how far the Wallabies have come.”They’ve been pretty good, they keep developing and they’re a confident side aren’t they?” he said.”It’s always difficult when you play someone and you beat them well the first time, to back that up, one of the hardest things in sport I think.”They certainly got a lot out of it and came at us; it should be a good Test match.”Hansen said fit-again Karmichael Hunt’s push for a return was evidence of the Wallabies’ improved depth, agreeing that it was something the All Blacks had done better than most in recent years.”Karmichael’s a good player; whether he comes off the bench, whether he starts or whether he doesn’t make the 23 it just means that they’ve got a good squad,” he said.”One of the things you want in today’s game is 23 people who can participate and ask questions of the opposition.”We’ve moved from talking of a starting 15 to a playing 23 and I think Australia are starting to build that same depth; him coming back will only strengthen that.”They’ve used a lot of players but they’re starting to get more comfortable selecting the same team, so they’re obviously starting to believe they’re picking the right ones.”New Zealand’s own depth could be stretched again, with five-eighth Beauden Barrett in camp but suffering headaches after a knock in the one-point defeat of South Africa earlier this month.Canterbury’s Richie Mo’unga could debut if Barrett doesn’t improve this week.”Richie’s young, a good player and still in the infancy in his career … he’s got all the fundamentals of a good five-eighth,” Hansen said.”Obviously this (Test arena) is a different environment, it comes with a lot of pressure and can be overwhelming for some people.”It will be a big challenge, but we’ve had challenges like this before, it’s what you coach for and the boys will look after him.”last_img

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