Rugby Championship News

Hansen confident in new All Blacks Slade & Taylor




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New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen says that replacement first five-eighths Colin Slade and Tom Taylor have slotted straight into the All Black team ahead of their Rugby Championship clash with Australia.

Slade and Taylor were called into the All Blacks squad after Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett were both ruled out of this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia.

The loss of Cruden and Barrett was a blow for the All Blacks as regular first choice first five Dan Carter was ruled out for two weeks before last week’s opening test.

Cruden will be on the sidelines for between two to six weeks with a posterior crucial ligament knee injury but Barrett’s calf is not as serious and he should be available for the match against Argentina on September the 7th.

Another injury blow after last week’s opening victory was the loss of second rower Luke Romano who has a torn adductor and will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship.

Hansen said that he was confident the replacements would be able to step into the team without any real problems.

“Luckily enough Tom Taylor has been to a couple of camps. Colin has played 10 Tests and been to a World Cup. Both of them are reasonably comfortable in the environment,” the All Blacks coach told Sportal.

“The game plan is not too difficult. They’ve just got to come in and do their job and we’ve got to trust them and everyone else has just got to do theirs and do it really, really well.”

The All Blacks have held a series of camps for fringe players recently and Taylor was part of the players involved.

“Really we are getting reward for the camps and having Tom Taylor (at them),” said Hansen.

Slade’s last All Black Test was in the 2011 Rugby World Cup but he is still familiar with the set up.

“We are getting reward for picking Colin Slade when he was injury free a couple of years ago.

“I’m confident they have got the skill set to do what we want them to do. They are confident people.

“Tom Taylor is a 90 percent goal kicker and Colin is a pretty accomplished goal kicker too. They come with a lot of skills.”

Hansen would not say whether Slade’s past Test experience would give him the edge in selection over Taylor for the starting No.10 jersey but did say that the team would not change their attacking plan due to the loss of Carter, Cruden and Barrett.

“They (Slade and Taylor) fitted in pretty good. They’ve got hold of it pretty quickly. It was pretty seamless,” Hansen added.

Hansen said that the situation would be good for the players heading into the second Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup match even though the All Blacks won the first Test 29-47.

“Yes we scored 47 points but we only played off about six set pieces. So that’s disappointing. We’ve got to improve that,” he said.

“They scored 29 points so we’ve got to improve that. The score means nothing.

“We’ve only won one game. We’ve got to go out and do it again. If we can win another one then we get to keep the Bledisloe Cup.”

Hansen said that he expects the Wallabies to respond strongly this weekend after they were humliated in Sydney last weekend.

“I think they will come at us with everything they’ve got. They’ll have a huge amount of intensity. There will be a lot more purpose about their game. A lot more energy,” he said.

“They’ll work hard on being a lot more accurate than they were.”

“They made a massive amount of unforced errors and if they get that out of their game they are right in the performance. “

“We have to improve our game to match that.”

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