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Composure under pressure key for All Blacks

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Lynn McConnell     19 Nov 2017     Getty Images

Scotland finished strong and pushed the All Blacks all the way.

"It was a fantastic Test, they certainly brought it to us right from the word go. It took a while for us to get into that game but we showed what we could do in the second half. It was an awesome Test match to be involved in, it really pushed us," Read said.

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The second half comeback made him proud as he felt many teams would have succumbed to the Scottish pressure.

He felt the All Blacks may have been caught on the hop by the Scottish pace of play.

"In the first half we were possibly five percent off and in a game like this against a quality side you're going to lose those balls at the breakdown and you're not going to finish off opportunities. That was the lesson we tried to take into that second half," he said.

"You can't take anything away from the Scots, I thought they were fantastic tonight. We had to dig really deep," he told SKY Sport.

They hadn't put Scotland away when they got up by 12 points so that was something the All Blacks would have to look at.

The side's indiscipline, especially in the final quarter of games, was not doing them any favours and they needed to be smarter, he said.

The side was proving able to dig itself out of holes but it was indicative of Test match rugby that while you had to work hard for wins, if you were just off the pace teams were good enough to put you under pressure.

The star of Scotland's side, fullback Stuart Hogg said they had taken great encouragement from Ireland's win over the All Blacks last year and the British & Irish Lions in June.



"We firmly believed we could come out here in front of our fans and achieve something special unfortunately we just came up short but your boys closed up the game and came up with points when they were needed so credit to New Zealand, they were outstanding.

"For the first time in a long time we've got real strength and depth in Scotland, there's competition for places is massive which means training is better and these boys are performing week in week out for their clubs.

"We can take a lot of confidence from that, we came very, very close to beating the best team in the world.

"We were sick and tired of sitting back and admiring the way teams play, we wanted to go at them in our defence and attack wise we were all about going out there and expressing ourselves and having some fun with our mates and enjoying the occasion," he said.

Coach Steve Hansen said it had been a great Test match with Scotland putting their hand up and forcing the All Blacks to work hard to get the win.

"At times we executed well and at times we didn't and that was because Scotland put us under pressure.
"The thing I am most pleased about is the resilience in the group. They find a way, even when things aren't going great, and 2017 probably hasn't been a vintage rugby year for us. We're still scoring lots of tries but we're finding ways when we have to, to win matches and that will bode well for us."

That was a reflection of who the All Blacks were at the moment, he said. They had a pretty easy 2016 when teams backed off and thought they had an opportunity but when they didn't get it they had all stepped up to the mark and played better which was the result of the challenge the All Blacks had put out there.

The scrum had been important, especially two scrums when they had only seven men but still retained composure.

Second five-eighths Sonny Bill Williams, who played a key part in the last two All Blacks tries, said the first, from his grubber kick for fullback Damian McKenzie to score, was not so much a planned move as a result of him working on micro skills.

He said having good players inside him and out allowed them to work together and push each other at training so that what happens on the field is a natural by-product of that work.

Fullback Damian McKenzie said the speed of Scotland's play in the first half had resulted in the All Blacks attempting to weather the storm and then make the most of what ball they could get.

"We just knew if we stuck to our simple things well and built some phases we would hopefully score some points and we managed to do that. Credit to Scotland, when they got the ball they really played some great rugby and scored some great tries too and it was good to come away with a win in front of an awesome atmosphere here in Edinburgh," he said.