Hansen: We can still win Tri-Nations
August 1, 2009
Conrad Smith battles for a loose ball with midfield rival Jaque Fourie © Getty Images
New Zealand slumped to their second defeat in South Africa in a week on Saturday but assistant coach Steve Hansen is adamant that the All Blacks can still win the Tri-Nations.
The Kiwis went down 31-19 after a directionless and ill-disciplined display in Durban, just seven days after an equally unimpressive 28-19 defeat in Bloemfontein.
With just three games remaining, one of which is a trip to Australia to take on the Wallabies, The All Blacks now have it all to do if they are to hold on to their Tri-Nations crown. However, Hansen feels that a successful title defence is still a possibility.
"They (the New Zealand players) made a huge effort all match, the desire is there, you can see that definitely in their defensive effort. We will have to guts it out and go away and work hard and get better," he told Sky Sport immediately after the Kings Park defeat.
"We're not looking for any excuses. South Africa are the world champions and they are playing like it at the moment. They have good players across the park.
"But the Tri-Nations is still on. We lost two games last year and we still have two games at home and a game in Australia."
Meanwhile, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw had few complaints with the final scoreline, the flanker admitting that his side had been outthought.
"The South Africans kicked very well and pinned New Zealand in its own half. We made mistakes trying to run the ball out. When you are trying to play flat-footed it is tough and when you can't win first phase ball it makes it tough.
"We've got to regroup and keep believing in ourselves."