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Hansen happy with All Blacks' transition progress

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Lynn McConnell     13 Sep 2018     Getty Images

While the transition in style was still incomplete there were good signs.

"We are starting to ask some real big questions defensively with our attacking game. Is it error-free? No. Will it ever be error-free? No, probably not but if we could have a few less of those it would be good and that's what we'll strive to do," he said.

He added he had been very pleased with the side that played Argentina and some of the younger players had put their hands up and it had been clear this week that others had learnt a lot and showed a sense of belonging which was what the management wanted.

They were aware that South Africa would be desperate to put a performance on the park and they were New Zealand's oldest traditional foe who rarely lost twice, let alone three times, in a row.

The All Blacks always remembered their last game against opponents, not the game before that, and the last game was a 25-24 win to the All Blacks which Hansen said, if they were honest, should have gone South Africa's way.

"For us, we've got to make sure we get our house in order and we turn up ready to rock and if that's the case it could be one of those special Test matches," he said.

The choice of the side's rearguard was reflective of the expectation that the Springboks will kick the ball at the All Blacks.

"It's an aerial game and we've got two big aerial athletes and we don't have to explain why Rieko's [Ioane] there, he's the best player in his position in the world I think and he gives us some real genuine gas and he's a good finisher," he said.

South Africa appeared to be a tight group, he said, and they got away to a good start against England. They were trying to play rugby and their selection policy still made that a little difficult but that was South African rugby and they had to live with that and coach Rassie Erasmus appeared to be dealing with that, while he also appeared to have a plan.

Hansen said it had been intended to introduce Sonny Bill Williams back into the side from the bench but he had been suffering tonsillitis and was pulled from the team named.

Centre Jack Goodhue had been subject to a heavy workload of games recently and being a young athlete they wanted to give him a break while Anton Lienert-Brown had been playing well and deserved his spot.

"He's talked well, carried well and defended well," he said.

At hooker it had been a chance to give Nathan Harris a chance to reflect on his involvement in recent weeks while Liam Coltman had been working hard behind the scenes and they wanted to see where he was at.

"It's been a long time between drinks with Liam and it's a bit of a reward for him," he said.

"He's a good footballer and we've got a lot of faith in him and hence why we're giving him a game against such great opposition."