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Head Coach Steve Hansen Offers Weak Reason For All Blacks Loss To Ireland

Head Coach Steve Hansen Offers Weak Reason For All Blacks Loss To Ireland
By PJ Browne

Ireland and New Zealand's game in Chicago on November 5th was played in a momentous week for the city. On the Wednesday before the game, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years  - a drought-ending victory similar to Ireland's just days later as they beat the All Blacks for the first time in 111 years.

Asked what were the factors in New Zealand's defeat to Ireland, All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen cited his players getting caught up in the city's celebrations as one possibility.

[The players were] spending a lot of time worrying about what the Cubs were doing. There were five million people at the parade and most of our blokes were there. I don't know if it was or if it wasn't [a contributing factor]. Is that what they normally do on a Friday before a test match? No and you can get caught up in that stuff.

I am saying it is a possibility that comes into it. Only the individual will be able to tell you that.

Perhaps players had taken their eye off the ball somewhat but that does come across as a weak excuse from Hansen.

If preparations were distracted by the hustle and bustle of Chicago, the All Blacks will have no reason for excuses this weekend. They're based at the Castleknock Hotel, a location fullback Ben Smith described as 'quite different' to Chicago.

Hansen added that though Ireland deserve credit for the win, his side's preparations were not to the standard set previously - they were not 'bone deep'.

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There is no doubt that Ireland had a good performance and they knew how they wanted to play. But we didn't respond to that. We have had a good look at what we did or didn't do and there is certainly room for improvement.

On the surface you look at it and say we prepared pretty good. But you have heard me talk about how preparation has to be bone deep and how bone deep was it? Only the individual can tell you but the result tells you it wasn't bone deep.

You know 16 of the 21 errors we made were avoidable; 12 penalties were avoidable. So if you don't get your attitude right, you don't get to play well and I don't think attitude will be a problem this week.

It does sound like New Zealand really mean business this weekend. They've named a strong starting XV - one which sees the return of the influential Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock to a second row which was a weak point in Chicago.

Hansen says that players go into Saturday's game with an anger about their performance in the All Blacks' first ever loss to Ireland.

There's a few people who are angry and disappointed in their performances. This group hasn't lost very often - some of them have never lost - and they don't know what it feels like until it happens and when it does, it is a shock to the system.

I guess it is the same when we all get a bit of a shake up. You come back to work the next day and you are a little bit sharper in your thought processes and you are a bit more honest about how you go around doing your job.

There is no complacency because there is no room for it. We are playing a team that has shown they are good enough to beat us if we don't show up and play well. There is now an air of we have to really front up and that is not a bad thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_C4Wi5nDSY

See Also: All Blacks Makes Five Changes To The Team To Play Ireland This Weekend

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