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All Blacks nail game plan but can do better - Hansen

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Lynn McConnell     25 Jun 2017     Getty Images

New Zealand, the two-time defending Rugby World Cup champions, out-played the Lions in their perceived areas of strength and their final margin of victory was inflated by a full-time try scored by replacement halfback Rhys Webb.

While the team had played in the prescribed manner, it hadn't been perfect and Hansen said they would build on that ahead of next week's second Test in Wellington.

Hansen paid tribute to captain and No.8 Kieran Read who stamped himself on the effort in spite of not having played rugby for eight weeks due to a broken thumb. There was no sign of any after effects from the injury and Hansen said he had been 'outstanding'.

Being an All Blacks captain required character, Hansen said, and Read had demonstrated that. Hansen said Read had no hesitation when he asked him to play because that was what All Blacks captains did.

At the same time Hansen said the Lions had 'played magnificently' adding the comment that they should play like they did more often. His reference was to the counter-attacking try engineered by fullback Liam Williams and scored by flanker Sean O'Brien, and some of their other sweeping runs which fully tested the All Blacks defences.

Read said he had gone into the game wanting to play the best he could and said he felt pretty good playing as long as he did. Certainly the Eden Park crowd showed how it felt about his effort by giving him a standing ovation when he was substituted.

He said the All Blacks had shown guts and character and had been quick to take their opportunities when they got them.

They had taken a lot of confidence into the game from their preparation during the week. It did take the team 60 minutes to string opportunities together.

"The first half had some quick, good rugby. That's how you want it to be if you want to showcase the game," he said.

Hansen said they looked to play off their halfback as a way of negating the Lions feared line speed in defence and the All Blacks had looked after the ball.

"They [the Lions] had to make a lot of tackles and that fatigues you and makes you make mistakes," he said.

Speaking of wing Rieko Ioane's two tries, Hansen said not many people would have scored his second try which came when Williams failed to collect a high kick allowing the ball to bounce where Ioane picked it up and race in for a try.

The All Blacks tight five had been very, very good, he said, and the game was always going to be won in the tight five.

"You don't do that unless you have a very good tight five," he said.

Fullback Ben Smith would go through concussion protocols ahead of next week's second Test while Ryan Crotty had suffered a hamstring injury and could be available for the third Test.