Steve Hansen remains tight-lipped about All Blacks lack of discipline

By Campbell Burnes

All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg during the test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Ireland, held at AVIVA Stadium, Dublin, Ireland. Photo / Brett Phibbs.
All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg during the test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Ireland, held at AVIVA Stadium, Dublin, Ireland. Photo / Brett Phibbs.

Neither Steve Hansen nor Ireland coach Joe Schmidt were delving too deeply into the permutations of a 15-4 penalty count in favour of the home side, not to mention two yellow cards against the All Blacks.

"All you want the ref to do is be consistent. That's all I'll say about that," said Hansen, when quizzed about referee Jaco Peyper pinging the All Blacks at almost 4-1 in the count, and losing Aaron Smith and Malakai Fekitoa to the sinbin.

"What I feel is irrelevant. They (the referees) have been given a clear edict. They'll work their way through the footage just like we will and Steve and his team will," said Schmidt.

"They gave us access points through a couple of yellow cards and maybe we should have done better. That was testament to their defence."

The All Blacks' staunch line, when they were second in many of the stats, was the main talking point.

"A lot of pressure built up into this game and we responded well. The start set the tone and then we had to defend, I guess, because we didn't have much ball, so I was really proud of the guys' effort," said All Blacks captain Kieran Read.

"If you look at the penalty count, it was pretty high against us, and that doesn't help... the work we did on D was fantastic.

"Ireland put a lot of pressure on us. They had a lot of pill and we didn't get too much rub of the green from the referee, but they made us work for it, so we'll savour it."

Schmidt knew Ireland were not quite there on attack, as they were in Chicago.

"They were tough defensively, a few guys are pretty sore and there are a few head injury assessments to work through... but we undid ourselves a few times, one time we coughed up the ball when it looked like Sean (O'Brien) might be in for a try, but credit to the resilience of the All Blacks. They defended admirably and are just so dangerous on the rebound."

His captain Rory Best, who was effective at the breakdown in his 99th test, concurred.
"We just didn't attack them in that first half both with and without the ball like we did two weeks ago. Obviously we are disappointed. If you're going to beat the All Blacks, you're going to have to score more than nine points and at least one try," he said.

Hansen paid tribute to the character of his team, acknowledging that November was always going to the toughest part of the season after all the Rugby Championship travel took its toll.

"They are a young side and showed character bouncing back from Chicago. We learned a lot about them today, but whilst the game wasn't perfect, there's a lot we can take away," said Hansen. "The defence got more than a good work-over. Some of that was from our kicking game. At times we didn't kick that smart."

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