Hansen happy with All Blacks matches against Harbour and Northland
Lynn McConnell 08 Aug 2014 Getty Images
North Harbour struggled to contain the All Blacks who worked several slashing moves to stretch the home team's defences but Northland proved more combative and scored a stunning try when loose forward Kara Pryor crossed after some superbly executed lead-up work.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said:"It was a good hit out for us. The guys hadn't played for a while and in the second half that showed and we got what we desired."
Hansen said loose forward Liam Squire, who is in the wider training group, had played well and had been someone the selectors had seen and liked and it was a good opportunity to see him play in All Black company.
Another who shone was flanker Shane Christie who got his opportunity because the preferred player Matt Todd had been tied up with the Crusaders so it gave the selectors a chance to have a look at another player.
Christie got his chance for a long stint after returning flanker Sam Cane suffered a cut to his head and was forced out in the first quarter of the exercise.
A surprising feature of the night was the sight of second five-eighths Ma'a Nonu taking the goal-kicks ahead of Aaron Cruden.
Hansen said if the All Blacks were to have the players they preferred on the field and something happened to deny them their goal-kicker while he was still able to stay on the field, it was an opportunity to try something with Nonu taking the shots.
"Northland were really willing which was great. They were really physical and we had to spend quite a bit of time defending so it test us," he said.
All Blacks 41 (Dane Coles, Conrad Smith, Sam Cane, Cory Jane, Shane Christie, Tawera Kerr Barlow tries; Ma'a Nonu 3 con) North Harbour 5 (Tevita Li try)
All Blacks 19 (Keven Mealamu, Cory Jane 2 tries; Beauden Barrett 2 con) Northland 7 (Kara Pryor try; Latiume Fosita con).
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