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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, satisfied with his side's 63-0 World Cup victory over Canada, has described loosehead prop Atu Moli's 80-minute shift in the oppressive humidity inside Oita Stadium as a "coming of age" performance.
Hansen revealed he deliberately replaced tighthead prop Angus Ta'avao after 25 minutes in order to save him for the next test against Namibia in Tokyo on Saturday. His replacement, Nepo Laulala, played 26 minutes, with Ofa Tuungafasi then coming on and playing the remaining 30.
That left the 24-year-old Moli playing 80 minutes in a match for the first time since high school, a remarkable effort given the conditions.
"The coaches just said 'go until you're knackered'. So I went and I think I was knackered at halftime," Moli said. "I don't know where the other energy came from."
Asked whether he got much acknowledgement from Hansen afterwards, Moli said: "I looked at him and he gave me a wink, that's all I got from him. He won't give you too much but all you have to do is get your head down and keep working."
Hansen was far more effusive in his praise of Moli in front of the media.
"It was planned," Hansen said of Ta'avao's departure. "We wanted Atu to play the 80 minutes. We wanted to keep the other guys fresh because they have to play in four days' time.
"We're really pleased with Atu, he's come a long way in a very short period. Today I think he came of age, so very happy with him. He should be proud of himself. To play 80 minutes, he proved a point to himself as well as other people."
Hansen confirmed his satisfaction at his side's performance in the biggest victory of this World Cup so far which he said would boost his players' confidence further after an excellent first win over the Boks in Yokohama.
The All Blacks ran in nine tries, with Sonny Bill Williams, Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett starring. Barrett and his younger brothers Scott and Jordie all scored tries for an historic night for them and their family. Scott also missed one in the first half when he dropped the ball on the line.
"They're pretty handy," Hansen said of the trio. "Beauden is an exceptional footballer. I can't wait to see the GPS numbers on how far he ran tonight. The only reason he didn't get that last try was because fatigue got him. He covered some huge miles, I would suggest, and at high pace.
"Scooter – that's Scott – is playing very well and he'll be going back to his non-flashy dive to score tries after tonight.
"Jordie is starting to really please both Fozzie [assistant coach Ian Foster] and I. He's playing with control and patience and he is going to be pretty special too.
"When you're blessed you're blessed and their parents will be very proud of them tonight and so they should be."
With Brad Weber also shining at halfback in the second half and Jack Goodhue getting a good 40 minutes after his return from a hamstring injury and no injuries, the All Blacks will travel to Tokyo and their next assignment with confidence boosted.
They were always expected to thrash Canada and while there were many handling errors, some of the attacking play was extraordinary.
It's also entirely possible that lock Brodie Retallick will return to play Namibia. Hansen was not surprisingly remaining cagey by saying: "You can assume what you like."
Of Williams, who scored a try and set one up for Beauden Barrett with a neat kick under the posts, Hansen was more forthcoming.
"He played really well tonight. He's got a kicking game. I think he's done that kick four times and we've scored four times from it.
"He's injury free and we're starting to see the old Sonny so we're very happy with him.
"We'll come away with some confidence that what we're trying to do is starting to build and grow. We've had a massive week too. We've worked way harder than we normally would.
"It was a pretty good performance when you break it down, particularly in the first part of the second half. They played controlled rugby in what are really difficult conditions. The humidity is unbelievable. While people at home may be wondering why they're dropping a few balls – it's very, very difficult and they did pretty well."
Skipper Kieran Read said: "It was bloody tough in the humidity under this roof.
"The heat wasn't too bad, but obviously the humidity was a factor," Read said. It's not often Beauden Barrett gets caught like that and obviously he dropped the ball too."