All Blacks: Hansen brushes off Cruden laser incident

By Patrick McKendry of APNZ in Buenos Aires

Aaron Cruden has spoken of his disappointment at being targeted by a laser beam shone from the crowd at the Ciudad de La Plata Stadium. Photo / Getty Images.
Aaron Cruden has spoken of his disappointment at being targeted by a laser beam shone from the crowd at the Ciudad de La Plata Stadium. Photo / Getty Images.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says he is relaxed about an incident in yesterday's victory over Argentina in which a laser was shone into Aaron Cruden's face.

Cruden was about to convert Cory Jane's hat-trick try late in the 54-15 victory at the Ciudad de La Plata Stadium when a laser beam flashed across his face.

"It's just one of those things,'' Hansen said before the team got on a flight to Johannesburg. "You just have to let it go. It's not a big deal. It concerns me more when they do it to pilots when they're flying a plane. One individual's actions can be held against everybody, because there are idiots everywhere.''

Cruden, who replaced Dan Carter for the final quarter of the match, said he noticed a ray of light on the ground in front of him as he lined up the kick. He said he tried to focus on the ball rather than be distracted and added that his vision was not impaired.

"I saw a laser light on the ground actually, that sort of shot through my mind that maybe they were trying to put me off. I just tried to focus on the ball and strike it and luckily it went over.

"I didn't feel anything in my vision, I just saw the laser light down on the ground with the ball. I've seen that done before watching a test match and the crowd is trying to put you off a bit.

"I've never had that before but I've seen it on telly. It's a bit of a shame when things like that happen but you've just got to sort of be the bigger man and put it past you I suppose.

"Especially with it being the last play it was a bit of a shame but you can't control what the crowd does. You just have to go out there and do what you can do.''

The All Blacks' victory, which wrapped up the Rugby Championship with one match still to play, against South Africa in Soweto next weekend, was the most complete of the season.

They were prepared for a tough match against the Pumas at home after their battle in Wellington three weeks ago and delivered accordingly. The forwards were much improved and as a result the backs scored seven tries, with Jane scoring three, Julian Savea two and Aaron Smith and Ma'a Nonu one each.

Hansen said the an excellent preparation during the week had set the team up for the win. They are in good shape too, with Luke Romano and Conrad Smith recovering well from facial cuts which resulted in them being replaced in the first half.

Probably the coaches got it dead right this week for the first time in a while.

We got our structure at training improved a bit too. We learned from previous weeks and as a result we got a good performance.

And preparation will again be key this week as they travel from Argentina to South Africa for a match for the first time.

"A nine-hour flight, a lot of that time will be taking up eating and sleeping and the guys probably won't get enough sleep and then we're up all day, so we've just got to be smart in what we will do in the first couple of days,'' Hansen said.

New Zealand 54 (Cory Jane 3, Julian Savea 2, Aaron Smith, Ma'a Nonu tries; Dan Carter 3 con, 2 pen, Aaron Cruden 2 con, pen) Argentina 15 (Martin Landajo, Gonzalo Camacho tries; Juan Martin Hernandez pen, con) HT: 32-8.

* Patrick McKendry flew to Argentina courtesy of LAN Airlines (www.lan.com).

- APNZ

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