Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Hansen - Crusaders 'will be kicking themselves'

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says the Crusaders' failure to adapt to playing with a numerical advantage against the Sharks last night could prove a valuable lesson as his squad meets for the first time ahead of the June series against England.

Speaking at the Christchurch training camp after last night's stunning 30-25 victory by the 14-man Sharks over the Crusaders in the city, Hansen said the Crusaders "will be kicking themselves" at not making the visitors pay for the 16th-minute sending off of flanker Jean Deysel for stamping. In the second half Willem Alberts' yellow card meant the Sharks were playing with only 13 men for 10 minutes.

"Both sides have gone in with a conservative game plan and one side will be kicking themselves," he said. "They didn't adapt and adjust to only playing against 13 men when clearly their game plan was to put the ball in behind the Sharks and take advantage of that. Circumstances changed they way they should have played and they didn't adapt to that and that's something we as a team have to be really good at and there are good lessons there for all the sides.

"We'll take them to the whole team. Everybody makes mistakes. The good thing about mistake is that we can all learn from someone else's misfortune if we're smart enough. We're in the business of getting better and the only way to get better is by learning and adapting faster than the other guy."

Highlanders centre Malakai Fekitoa has a foot strain which he is protecting with a moon boot but Hansen said he was expected to be available to play against the Crusaders in Dunedin on Friday.

Hansen said the objectives for this three-day camp and the next one in Wellington next weekend was to get to know the younger players in the 36-man squad and "have them get to know us and be comfortable and understand what we're trying to do. And to re-acquaint the older guys with our game structures and skill sets which we feel are important to us".

- APNZ

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