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Hansen not concerned with stars out of position

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Lynn McConnell     28 Jul 2014     getty Images

Since returning from the broken rib he sustained during the England series, McCaw has played on the blindside of the scrum while Carter, since his return from his six-month sabbatical, has been playing at second five-eighths. Both are likely to continue in those positions for the Crusaders in Saturday's Super Rugby final in Sydney against the Waratahs.

McCaw had been part of a 'brilliant effort' by the loose forwards, alongside Kieran Read and Matt Todd, in Saturday's semi-final against the Sharks, Hansen said and despite only one game back before that he had demonstrated his class again.

Hansen said typical of McCaw's approach was his chase of a ball over the sideline five minutes from the end. He made a quick throw-in which ended with the Crusaders scoring a try. Most people would have been looking to slow the game down and play out the clock, Hansen said, but McCaw was still looking for opportunities.

Hansen said he was pleased with Dan Carter's progress since returning from his sabbatical. He was looking sharp and his body was allowing him to do the things the selectors expected him to be able to do and that Carter wanted to be able to do.

"When you look back to what was happening to him before [his sabbatical] it was frustration after frustration and he couldn't string three games together. He's now done that, he looks good and looks sharp so the next step is the Test arena and we will see how he goes there," he said.

Hansen wasn't concerned about his lack of play at first five-eighths. He said second five-eighths was the best place to play for him in the Crusaders because Colin Slade had been playing well. Carter would play first five for the All Blacks but he would cover second five-eighths as well.

It was unfortunate that Crusaders loose forward triumvirate were not all in the Championship squad but Hansen said the selectors felt Sam Cane was the man for the job. He had played well in the occasions he had been given and deserved to be selected first again.

However, there could be a concern over prop Tony Woodcock who has sustained a shoulder injury which requires four weeks rehabilitation. If is not right after that he could require surgery which would take him out for the rest of the season.

Hansen rated the Bledisloe Cup as the second most important trophy the All Blacks play for outside the Rugby World Cup and it was important they played well in the first two Tests against Australia in the Championship.

"We know we've still got a long way to go to get the perfect game but we're striving to put processes in place that will allow us to do that," he said.

Australia had improved 'immensely', he said, and were trying to play a style that complemented the players they had.

"They've got some fantastic players in two or three positions that are getting close to world-class, if they are not already world-class so they have got some dangerous athletes and we will have to respect them immensely and prepare well," he said.