Hansen: Intimidating factor a bonus

Getty Images     21 Jun 2013     Getty Images

Collectively the pack is an imposing force but as the first Test of the Steinlager series against France at Eden Park showed, it's not as difficult to muscle up and disrupt their rhythm.

Turnovers were also a problem as Les Bleus pilferer Thierry Dusautoir constantly made a nuisance of himself at the breakdown and took away any poorly protected possession.

In the 16 Tests since Kaino headed for Japan, Liam Messam and Victor Vito have spent time in the No 6 jersey, with neither able to make it a permanent stay.

Uncapped Blues flanker Steven Luatua has joined the blindside mix but, just as Kaino did, will need time to develop his game.

All three posses the necessary athleticism and skills required to perform the basic tasks of the role but coach Steve Hansen admitted he is looking for the added bonus of a dominant figure patrolling the breakdown and mauls.

"You want a ball carrier and you want physicality in defence, that's what we're looking for," Hansen said.

"There's a lot of sixes in the game that don't do that. It's a bonus if they can. It's a bonus if anyone can intimidate someone in the game of rugby."

Making just five starting appearances in three years, Vito has spent most of his time behind Messam, who also came to prominence as an elusive big man in the seven-man game.

During his time on the bench Vito has had a chance to re-think his approach and plans to state his claim in when he runs out for the third and final Test in New Plymouth.

"He [Messam] is leading the way there for the Chiefs as well and then coming into the All Blacks frame he has been doing a great job of it," Vito said. "Getting this opportunity I'm really going to have to take it with both hands.

"If anything, the French have been good at slowing down our ball," he continued.

"When we're on attack just making sure that if I see any blue jumpers around me just make sure they're not there anymore."

With three changes to the pack that failed to break the All Blacks defence during a demoralising 30-nil defeat in Christchurch last week, France will have fresh legs ready to launch another barrage of brave assaults around the fringes.

Although it will provide Vito with a chance to assert his dominance, he won't be the only one aiming to make a statement with relentless defence.

"I want eight forwards intimidating the opposition; it's not about one guy doing it," Hansen said.

"There are occasions where you can intimidate legally - that's at the breakdowns and the tackle and when you carry.

"But you can't just have one of those people, you need eight."