New Zealand 29-15 South Africa, Rugby Championship
Steve Hansen praises All Blacks
September 14, 2013
Brodie Retallick claimed his first Test try © Getty Images

Steve Hansen praised his players after the All Blacks defeated South Africa 29-15 at Eden Park in Auckland to top The Rugby Championship ladder.

"It was a really intense Test match, one that had a bit of everything, and I'm very proud of how we came through it," Hansen said after the physical and incident-packed clash that included the dismissal of Springboks hooker Bismarck du Plessis early in the second half, after his second yellow card, and the sin-binning of All Blacks captain Kieran Read, who scored two of their tries, and inside centre Ma'a Nonu.

"In games like tonight, you need your big players to stand up and they did, including the guy beside me [Read]."

Hansen also highlighted the performance of the younger brigade, namely Sam Cane, Brodie Retallick and replacement five-eighth Beauden Barrett.

Hansen said he had no complaints about the yellow cards, saying the officials had to make decisions in the moment. He said that du Plessis was unlucky to get his first card after 15 minutes, even if New Zealand five-eighth Dan Carter sustained a shoulder injury in the incident, but discipline was part of the game.

"Bismarck will be disappointed because probably the first one wasn't a yellow card, but what he did the second time was just dumb," Hansen said. "You can't elbow someone in the throat." Similarly, he described the actions of Kieran Read and Ma'a Nonu in the final eight minutes to earn yellow cards as "reasonably dumb offences".

"You have to accept it, if you do it."

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer declined to comment on the officiating, saying his side had no excuses. "I thought the better team won on the day," Meyer said. "That's why they're the world champions."

Sam Cane shed blood, sweat and tears for the All Blacks' cause © Getty Images

New Zealand defeated South Africa in a tough contest (video available only in Australia)

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