Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

All Blacks: Hansen wary of low-key Wallabies

Amongst all the pre-Bledisloe Cup posturing, there was some trans-Tasman coaching empathy.

Steve Hansen remembered the tough times in his early days with the All Blacks when there was a rash of doubt about tactics, players, fitness and skills.

They were times when it was best to keep your head down and work extra hard to recalibrate the All Black game on a number of levels.

The Wallabies would be more difficult in Wellington than they were last week in Sydney and that showed in their lower-key public profile.

"They will obviously be more dangerous and the first sign of that is they are not talking as much this week," said Hansen.

"If we were in their situation, and we were eight years ago, we would just shut down and get right into it. The mentality would be we have to go out there and prove a point and I'm sure that's what they are going to do.

"We have to match that.

"I think they will come out very physical. I think they will get (Will) Genia to kick the ball a lot more than they did.

"Their 10 did all their kicking for them so I think they will change the way they play. I think they thought they could run the ball from everywhere and made a lot of unforced errors and we capitalized on those and they will look to reduce those.

"We have to go out and play smart again and have a preparation that allows us to turn up on Saturday with a real intensity and a focus which can get the job done."

The reaction when Hansen's words reached the Wallaby ears would be fascinating after some of his goading about selection and ideas last week and the subsequent 47-29 pasting the All Blacks delivered.

Has Hansen rumbled the Wallaby tactics again or is he playing with their minds, provoking them or attempting a double-bluff?

He is sitting on the high ground after Sydney but he will also know his men need to cure many of the lineout woes and untidy phases which sat amongst their initial Rugby Championship victory.

New man Brodie Retallick comes into the pack for the injured Luke Romano and admitted the All Blacks had concentrated so much on their scrum last week that their lineout had not been quite as accurate.

"Hopefully we will get that set-piece humming," he said.

"We have talked about getting quality ball from both of them (scrum and lineout) so the backs can play and not just give it to them from a scrum like last week."

Retallick might feel like a test rookie with plenty to learn but workrate and enthusiasm would help bridge those gaps while he also knew a bit about the Brumbies who inhabited the Wallaby pack.

Lineout leader Ben Mowen was very effective, Scott Fardy was an industrious worker, Ben Alexander and Stephen Moore had played a great deal together.

- NZ Herald

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