New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen was pleased to have picked up a 46-24 win over Argentina, with flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, loose forward Shannon Frizell and prop Karl Tu’inukuafe all making their first starts.
“If it had been our aim to get a bonus point and win the game, then we achieved that”, Hansen said.
“We also got the opportunity to blood some young men and they got put under pressure by a good Argentina side. We had to show mental fortitude and we let in three tries so some of our defensive work wasn’t as good as it could have been. They went through a 20 minute period where we didn’t touch the ball so at some point we were going to let them have one.”
“It wasn’t the perfect performance by any stretch of the imagination.”
Despite the margin of victory a reporter pointed to a sombre mood within the press room.
“We have huge expectations. That’s one of the things that’s constant in the All Blacks. The external expectations are massively high, as are the internal ones, so we expect to play well and we expect to win well and even when we make changes like we have, those expectations don’t change.”
“I guess people get a bit sombre, I suppose, but when you sit back and reflect on what we have achieved, we’ve actually done really well tonight and scored a bonus-point win over Argentina. I don’t know that we’ve scored that many tries against them in a home game for quite some time, so there are some real good positives there.”
Next up for the All Blacks in South Africa in Wellington next Saturday, but they may be without Ngani Laumape and Brodie Retallick, who both picked up early knocks in the match against the Pumas.
Laumape sustained knee ligament damage in a tackle before experienced lock Retallick landed awkwardly on his right shoulder.
“Ngani’s done a knee ligament. Don’t know how long that’s going to be. We’ll get a better idea (in the coming days),” said Hansen.
“And Brodes’ shoulder is pretty sore and, again, we don’t know (the seriousness) until we get it scanned on Monday. I can’t really tell you any more than that, they’re both pretty sore boys.”
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