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McCaw to miss rest of Rugby Championship

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Sportal.co.nz     08 Sep 2013     Getty Images

Coach Steve Hansen said it was likely McCaw would be out for four to five weeks but of the match he said the sides had kept trying to play positive rugby in spite of the conditions.

Hansen said there had been a lot of errors in the game but a closer look at the errors revealed they were either in the contact area or in catching and that was due to the conditions.

"I think both sides really struggled to control the football in the conditions so it is a shame that had such a big influence on the game," he said.

There was a possibility the All Blacks could have kicked more but in a competition where there were bonus points for scoring tries and that is what they were trying to do.

Kieran Read, a key contributor to the victory, and who took over as captain when McCaw left the field said the conditions made it more of a contest between the packs.

"We stood up really well, I thought our pack was outstanding tonight. We competed really hard in the set piece and on defence as well, it was probably our best effort this year," he said.

The scrums had been a great contest, they stayed up more and he felt they had their rewards for that towards the end of the game, despite some scrappy moments when replacements were introduced.

Hansen said the new laws had created a lot of pressure and had become like a tug of war between both teams. And when the team feeding the ball went to hook it, the pressure came on from the other side.

But the lineout was a different story and he was pleased to be able to put the Pumas under a lot of pressure on their ball.

"Our ball was pretty good most of the team and our scrum ball was, by and large, pretty good most of the time too so our set piece is coming along quite nicely," Hansen said.

The introduction of new second five-eighths Francis Saili had been good, apart from his first dropped ball.

"If you wanted to start a Test match, you probably wouldn't want to start it like that.

"I think it showed a lot of character for him to bounce back from that. I thought he carried well, I don't think he dropped a ball after that and he went into contact nicely for us at times. He showed us he's got a nice left foot and threw a lovely pass when we scored from that try so he did enough things to be satisfied," he said.

The conditions had meant it wasn't a night for the backs, but the All Blacks forwards had managed to impose their own physicality on the Pumas.

"When you see [fullback] Israel Dagg drop a high ball you know it is hard because he is the best in the world at it.

"We won't look too hard at those kind of errors. We will look at tidying up our structures around the park," he said.

"I think there are enough positives there to look forward to next week," he said.

Hansen said Read's performances were what was expected of a player the selectors regarded as the best No.8 in the world at the moment.

"He probably went up a gear when the skipper went off and that was really pleasing because that is what you want to see. You want your best players to find something extra when you lose one of your top guys," he said.

Meanwhile, the newcomer to the loose combination Steven Luatua was coming along nicely. "As a coaching group we are really happy with where he's going," he said.