New Zealand Rugby
All Blacks learning from the Reds
ESPNscrum Staff
October 27, 2010
Reds fly-half Quade Cooper stretches the Highlanders' defence, Reds v Highlanders, Super 14, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia, May 15, 2010
The All Blacks have been studying tape of Quade Cooper in action for the Reds to get a read on Australia's backline © Getty Images

Steve Hansen has revealed that the New Zealand coaches have been analysing the backline play of the Queensland Reds in an attempt to get a read on Australia's attack.

The New Zealand assistant coach was forthright in his view that Australia are playing the Queensland way. Perhaps it is not surprising given Reds halfback partners Will Genia and Quade Cooper are Australia's number one combination and the All Blacks have decided to further investigate the trend ahead of Saturday's Bledisloe Cup match in Hong Kong.

And although they are helped by the presence of Reds star Daniel Braid in the All Black squad, Hansen said they were watching Queensland before his arrival.

''When you analyse Australia you analyse Queensland. They base their game on the Queensland game.," Hansen told theSydney Morning Herald in Hong Kong. "A lot of their plays are, especially in what they are doing off No.9 and 10. That does stand to reason as they [Genia and Cooper] come from Queensland. They are the drivers of the plays, so it makes sense that they do something that they know works for them.

''They were the two form Australian players in the Super 14, and therefore you'd imagine they would continue doing what they've been doing when they go to the higher level. We study the Super 14 for trends. When we saw those two guys and thought they could be the Test players, we started taking note of what they were doing. There's no guarantee that Australia will do exactly the same, but that appears to be what they are doing.''

The former Wales coach believes Cooper is likely to want to avoid contact with Dan Carter in Hong Kong, instead preferring to spread the ball wide as he did in the last Test between the sides.

''In the last match when Cooper played, they asked McCaw and Cruden to make a lot of tackles,'' Hansen said. ''I'm sure they'll want to involve McCaw and Daniel, if he is playing, a lot in the defence, because it takes them out of the organisation of the game. That's probably what we'd do if we were playing ourselves.''

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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