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Hansen: 'Smart' preparation the key

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Sportal.co.nz     08 Oct 2012     Getty Images

Coach Steve Hansen explained at the after-match press conference that juggling with different time zones, with the new factor of an Argentine leg ahead of the South African leg, had been part of the side's preparation equation.

He explained that was behind the cancellation of the regular captain's training run the day before the game.

"We went to a second time zone, so sleep was an issue this week, but we trained smar.

"We had to manage the players' workloads carefully," he said.

Captain Richie McCaw who became the first player in rugby history to play in 100 Test victories said, "Our fuel tanks probably were not 100 percent full coming into this game so it came down to mental desire."

Hansen, who has enjoyed an unbeaten run of nine wins since taking over from Graham Henry, said the All Blacks were 'getting better'.

"We know we have some very talented players, but so have a lot of other teams. The difference between us and them is that we are perhaps getting our preparation right during the week and ensuring that our players have the best chance to perform on the Saturday," he said.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said: "The All Blacks really are a quality team and I take my hat off to them, particularly Dan Carter for the way he controlled the game once they were ahead. He showed his experience by kicking in behind us and forcing us to counter-attack. And that led to errors, which they punished.

"I think that's the big difference between them and any other side in the world. If you give them half a chance they take it.

"Until half-time we played the right type of game, placing them under pressure. The turning point came when they scored that try soon after the interval as we had to play catch-up.

"They are the best in the world at exploiting and capitalising on turnover ball, and that is what they did with devastating effect in this game," he said.

Meyer said he felt South Africa had a long way to go in developing its young side.

"I'm happy that we've gone from No.4 in the world to No.2, but there is big difference between No.1 and No.2. If you look at where the All Blacks are, there is so much experience even if they play badly, one or two guys can still pull them through.

"It's going to take a special team to beat them. Someone will need to catch them on an off-day," he said.