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Hansen: Wallabies a 'dangerous animal'

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Sportal.co.nz     19 Oct 2012     Getty Images

After their emphatic wins in Sydney and in Wellington where they kept Australia pointless, the All Blacks are warm favourites to extend their unbeaten Test record to 17, just one behind Lithuania's international record of 18.

Any doubts that Hansen may miss the Test after the death of his father, Des, on Tuesday were quashed at a media conference in Christchurch on Thursday afternoon just hours before the All Blacks left for Brisbane.

"You'd be lying if you didn't say it has been a really tough week, but we're a tight family and the rugby family has been great. The distraction of going to training Monday, Tuesday and today has been awesome.

"I know [Des] would kick my backside if I didn't do the job right. I was always going to Brisbane – he would roll over and shoot me if I didn't."

Hansen said the Test was not a dead rubber despite the silverware being locked away for another year.

"It is a Test match against Australia and, along with South Africa, they rank as our main rival and there's a heck of a lot on it because of that.

"We've managed to beat them twice but last time we played them at Suncorp they beat us.

They've got a record of 17 from 20 at Suncorp so that makes them a dangerous animal.

"They've been doing a lot of talking about what they are and what they are not going to do which I find interesting."

Hansen said he respected the Wallabies immensely.

"We know they have had hardships and had quite a few injuries, but they have got one or two back and they've got probably the biggest forward pack they've ever put on the park starting on Saturday.

"So we know it will be physical and we know they'll be in the game for long periods. We have to manage that and make sure when we get opportunities we take them."

Hansen said little consideration was given to making wholesale changes even with the Investec Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup series both won.

The two changes from the starting team which beat South Africa, 32-16, in Soweto a fortnight ago are in the front row with Keven Mealamu and Charlie Faumuina coming in for Andrew Hore and Owen Franks, respectively.

"We've got the team ticking along nicely and clearly we were always going to make a change at hooker [for Mealamu's 100th Test]. Charlie has gone well off the bench and we wanted to see him start."