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Fifita a 'tank with plenty in it' but All Blacks have work to do - Hansen

By Peter Hanson
Vaea Fifita /Getty

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New Zealand coach Steve Hansen labelled Vaea Fifita as a “tank with plenty in it” after a fine debut, but recognised the All Blacks have yet to hit top gear following a scare against Argentina.


Flying flanker Fifita marked his first start for his country with a brilliant solo converted try to level the match in New Plymouth at 22-22.

It sparked a typical late flurry from a New Zealand side that ran out 39-22 winners having toiled for much of the contest and Hansen, who had hailed Fifita in the build-up, has high hopes for the powerful forward.

“I don’t know about that [Fifita being the next big star], we talked about him the other day he’s a good athlete and we saw a good athlete tonight,” he said.

“He’s not the finished product, there’s a long way to go before he does that, it’s a big tank with plenty in it.

“It’s our job to bring it out, it’s his job to get better and better and reach that potential. But it’s a start.”


New Zealand are three from three in the Rugby Championship, but needed a last-gasp try from Beauden Barrett last time out to beat Australia before their revival against Argentina.

“Again it was a great game for us to learn about ourselves,” Hansen added. “We had moments where we had to battle and think through some stuff that didn’t come easy for us.

“Obviously you don’t want the errors to keep growing. But we have come off the back of a great year and it is not flowing as easily for us and we are having to work at it. Which is what we need.

“Being put under pressure by linespeed is good for us. We are trying to play this brand of rugby that everyone wants us to play and we are going to have to get better at it.”


Pumas scrum-half Tomas Cubelli concedes that a spirited Argentina were overwhelmed by the All Blacks’ late surge.

“The tempo of the All Blacks killed us a bit in the last minutes,” he said.

“But it does give us a bit of confidence heading into Canberra because we are working the right way.

“Our message at half-time was to stay on task because we were doing a good job, but we only kept it up for another 20 minutes instead of 40.”


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