Hansen praises evergreen McCaw

Getty Images     18 Aug 2013     Getty Images

McCaw's selection was widely questioned after a six-month rest from the game during Investec Super Rugby, while Cruden also entered the game under immense pressure after replacing Dan Carter (calf) in the starting side.

But both players played starring roles in the six-tries-to-two romp as the All Blacks began their Investec Rugby Championship campaign with a bonus-point victory and took a 1-0 series lead in the battle for the Bledisloe Cup.

"To come back after having a break and everyone doubted him," Hansen said of McCaw.

"To get through to 70 minutes like he did shows the character of the bloke once again so hopefully there won't be any more doubters.

"Some people have questioned marked (Cruden) at times at this level but I think he showed he's a true international player of world class ability.

"He led the team very well."

McCaw said of his Test return after only a handful of club and Super Rugby appearances: "Not too bad. Probably in the first 20 minutes I got a bit over eager at times but I settled into it.

"It was good fun to be involved and run around again."

Asked if he feels his All Blacks have a stranglehold over the Wallabies,' the skipper replied: "From my point of view and our team point of you don't look at it like that.

"There's very little between these teams. If you don't get the prep right and put the performance out there you come second.

If you start thinking you're better than you are you'll tip up. The greatest challenge in sport is to back up performance after performance."

Hansen revealed Cruden suffered a bruised knee during the game while lock Luke Romano has a groin injury, with both players to be assessed.

The coach was understandably delighted with the victory in Sydney but is adamant complacency won't be a factor in Wellington.

"There's still some stuff we need to tidy up and until we win two (games) we don't own it (the Bledisloe Cup).

"I was obviously very, very happy with the performance, it's not every day that you can come here and get 40-odd points.

He added of the new scrum interpretations: "We've just created another issue haven't we? Once we get that sorted out and halfbacks put the ball in straight then we'll be fine.

"Obviously at the moment they're being very vigilant on it.

"You had two sets of halfbacks out there that were very reluctant to put the ball in because they didn't want to be yellow carded.

"I think it's like anything. We said they'd be some teething problems but the great thing about it was we didn't have too many collapses.

"Once we get used to it I think it'll be great for the game."

Having lived through the Christchurch earthquakes, Hansen expressed sympathy for the people of Wellington following this week's events.

"It's a difficult time for the folks in Wellington, in difficult times you draw on your experiences." Hansen said.

"One thing I know about the earthquakes in Christchurch is it's made those people come closer together.

"It's frightening, no doubt about that. We'll just deal with it the way we have to. You can live your life in fear or you can say well I'm going to keep living my life."