Plenty riding on Brisbane performance

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Lynn McConnell     19 Oct 2017     Getty Images

That was All Blacks' coach Steve Hansen's summation of the situations facing the sides going into the dead rubber and he made the point the contest was another prong in the development processes of the New Zealand side.


The Australians wanted to win a Test match because if they could beat the All Blacks they could point to that as an improvement and they had been working hard to try and do that, Hansen said.

If the All Blacks were to play poorly and lose, there would be a reasonably large rock beneath the beach towel [over the summer].

"If we were to play well and lose, you can accept that, you got beaten by a better team. But, there're no motivational problems with this team. We want to play better every time. We don't always achieve that but that's the aim of the group," he said.

"We've got a lot of people who haven't experienced playing here [Suncorp Stadium] which is great for us because it will be another learning experience, another thing we'll be able to bank going forward as a team," he said.

The Wallabies were winning more games, were fitter and their skills were allowing them to look to play more with the football which would have them going into the Test pretty confident, he said.

"When your skills improve you can do more things, you can hang onto the ball more and when you're fitter you don't tend to make the same amount of mistakes.
"As everyone knows if you beat the All Blacks it doesn't matter what else you've done, you've beaten the All Blacks. So they'll be hanging their hat on trying to do that and it's been a while so they're pretty desperate and we just need to be as desperate as they are," he said.

Halfback Will Genia was playing well again and that gave confidence to the players around him while fullback Israel Folau was always going to be dangerous and when there was more than one player with those qualities it became a little harder to look after them all, Hansen said.

"They'll be happy with how they're going in the backs and what they bring but our job will be to shut 'em down."

Injured first five-eighths Beauden Barrett had trained on Thursday and did some weight work as well and while the team doctor was happy with where he was at, but the decision was made not to play him.

Barrett will return home which has resulted in stand-in Richie Mo'unga having to stay as cover.


Hansen explained the choice of Matt Todd ahead of Ardie Savea in the substitutes by saying Savea had been through a massive year, not missing many Hurricanes games while the management had also been trying to bulk him up, which he had done well and they felt it would be good for him to have 'a bit of a breather'.

"Mattie is playing particularly well, particularly in that physical side of the game, defensively, and over the ruck and that's probably what's got him the nod ahead of Ardie," he said.

Hansen said blindside flanker Liam Squire was starting to show signs that he had become more comfortable as an All Black. While in his early Test days he hadn't quite been able to do the sorts of things that marked out his Super Rugby play, he was now achieving that.

He was a physical beast, and had pace, good skills, was good in the lineout – he had the whole package and it was now a case of polishing those qualities to see all his potential.

He had been preferred to Jerome Kaino in Brisbane because Kaino lacked game time against an opponent as good as Australia and would have his chance on the November tour, Hansen said.