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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Hansen says Chicago was all about All Blacks' bad attitude

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen. Photo: PA
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen. Photo: PA

For Auckland in the third test, see The Aviva in November.

That was the general impression in the shadow of New Zealand's 24-21 defeat to The Lions in Wellington.

When Ireland stunned the All Blacks, to end their 18-match unbeaten streak, the retribution in Dublin was swift and ruthless. The circumstances are not the same this time, according to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

"The difference in Chicago is that it was an attitudinal problem," he said.

"While we had a couple of the big boys out and had won 18 in a row, we got to Chicago and there was a big sigh of relief after getting the record.

"We may well have been starting to get comfortable," he said.

"The Cubs had won the World Series for the first time in however many years and we'd started to become tourists rather than a team on tour."

In fairness, the intensity from Soldier Field to The Aviva rocketed, with more than one claim of New Zealand crossing the line physically.

"What we have to learn is how to play a little smarter in those situations.

"Sometimes we brush over the cracks that are there. When you lose, the cracks get exposed because that is why you have lost.

"The crack that got exposed (on Saturday) was that we didn't know how to take that space that was downfield towards the end.

"How we do learn from that and go there?"

It was a game of mistakes and glaring missed opportunities, mostly from the right boot of Beauden Barrett.

Shabby

On the face of it, the out-half's return of seven from ten doesn't look too shabby.

On closer inspection, all three misses were very makable and could have taken the world champions out of sight before The Lions made their late run.

"I'm not worried a bout his goal-kicking at all," said the coach.

"Games are won and lost with goal-kicking, but they are also won by players doing a job from one to 23 and The Lions did their job better than we did."

Hansen was keen to focus on the third test.

"What we should be getting excited about is that it's 1-1," he added.

"We're going to Auckland to try and win it and they're going to Auckland to try and win it."

When Sonny Bill Williams was removed with a red card, flanker Jerome Kaino paid the price of giving way for centre Ngani Laumape to shore up the midfield.

"We had our chances and we could have taken that game," said Kaino.

"But the Lions played well and you saw the two tries that they scored - it was through some great attacking play.

"I thought the Lions really brought physicality in the first-half and also composure in the last five minutes."

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