All Blacks legend Jeff Wilson wasn't the biggest fan of Steve Hansen's decision to finish the final few minutes of their game against Tonga with 14 men.

Hansen explained last week that he deliberately forced his side to finish their 92-7 thrashing of Tonga with 14 players in the final 15 or so minutes of the match in order to put more pressure on them.

"We ran out of reserves and Ryan only needed to play for 65 minutes on his return," Hansen said.

When asked whether it was in preparation for a yellow or red card at the upcoming World Cup, he replied: "We have plenty of those tests anyway and we don't need too many more of them.

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"Obviously his (Crotty's) welfare was more important and it was a good opportunity again to put ourselves under a bit of pressure when it comes to how many we have on the park.

"We had to make that choice and the score told us we could make that choice with relatively low risk."

Some fans and pundits argued that the move was perhaps slightly "arrogant", with Fox Sports Australia asking the question which was on the minds of some after the match – were the All Blacks "arrogant or just plain smart?" – while Wales Online called it an "interesting decision".

Steve Hansen and Jeff Wilson. Photos / Photosport
Steve Hansen and Jeff Wilson. Photos / Photosport

Speaking to Radio Sport Breakfast, Wilson said he understood why the All Blacks decided to play with 14 men on purpose, but admitted that he was "a little uncomfortable with it".

"They had a plan and I don't know if this was always the plan but the fact that they exhausted all their options, they could've put someone back out there but then they would've reshuffled," Wilson said.

"There was an unnecessary risk in terms of players so why do it. I get that, having a guy who's gone off and cooled down a little bit. It did present them with an opportunity to play with 14 men.

"Look I had my doubts at the time whether or not I really wanted to see that happen. But I can see why they did it. I'm not going to bag them for it. I think that was the decision that was made. And it just showed the difference that it made – they didn't score for those 14 minutes.

"It just shows how significant those moments when you could get down to 14 men are. And the fact that Tonga were good enough to go 'you know what this is our opportunity, we're going to take it'. I was a little uncomfortable with it but can understand it."

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The All Blacks flew out for Japan this morning ahead of their first match of the Rugby World Cup against the Springboks on September 21.


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