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Why All Blacks legend was 'uncomfortable' about Steve...

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Why All Blacks legend was 'uncomfortable' about Steve Hansen's 14-man Tonga tactic

NZ Herald

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.

“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“.

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Why All Blacks legend was 'uncomfortable' about Steve Hansen's 14-man Tonga tactic