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Hansen: Pumas proved their worth

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Sportal.co.nz     09 Sep 2012     Getty Images

While the All Blacks were able to claim a 21-5 win it was only after a yellow card in the final quarter and which the home team, in Wellington, punished with two tries in six minutes.

"Argentina are only going to get better and better. In the first half we tried to play too much rugby with ball we should have held onto, but some of that was also due in part to the intensity the Argentinians brought," Hansen said.

While their defensive systems were good, they had been in place for a long time and with more exposure in the tournament they would keep growing their ability to play the game.

In the second half the All Blacks had been better, they ran better lines and their ball security was better, he said. But once the All Blacks gained control they were able to put more pressure on then with their speed on attack.

While it took time to get on top, Hansen said he felt the All Blacks had the game well and truly in control for most of the second half and he said he was especially pleased with the way the substitute players maintained the pressure.

Backs coach Ian Foster said halfback Aaron Smith, and first five-eighths Aaron Cruden, had struggled with what the Argentinians were doing but they solved a few problems on the field.

Hansen added: "Both halves are inexperienced but tonight's game would have done wonders for them. Both got challenged from a game understanding point of view. I thought Aaron Cruden finished the game really, really strong."

The forward pack had shown what they were capable of against a very physical side and the lineout had been good while managing to upset a lot of Argentine ball.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said they probably needed to hold onto the ball more in the first half. The ball they secured in the second half was a lot better and the players took the conditions out of the picture.

The Pumas had been especially effective around the fringes were they were able to defend the All Blacks' go forward ball. In the second half New Zealand got the ball in the right spots more often and took their chances.

"It was only a matter of time and for most of the second half we were at the right end of the field," he said.

Argentina's coach Santiago Phelan said while they were disappointed about the result they were happy with the way the players were performing.

"Australia in the next game is very important. This game gave us confidence because of the way the players gave 100 percent. But we have to do that consistently. We have to keep on working hard," he said.