Ardron will ensure proud Canadian effort - Hansen

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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said while Canada might not have the strengths of previous sides they were a proud team and a proud nation and their captain Ardron had established himself as good as anyone in Super Rugby with the Chiefs in New Zealand.

 

Hansen had read one of the Canada players had said he was a Joe Nobody who couldn't wait to be tackled by Kieran Read, and that showed Canada were coming to the party.

 

"It will be physical, as it always is against the Canadians, and we've just got to make sure that we execute what we need to and do it well," he said.

 

The All Blacks would play what was in front of them while at the same time respecting Canada because they had already been shown the cost of disrespect when losing to Australia in Perth and being reminded of that as a result of Japan's outstanding eeeewin over Ireland.

 

"We're confident that we'll get a performance that we are after," he said.

 

Hansen said referees at the tournament were under pressure. He had talked before the World Cup about teams that were under pressure and referees were no different.

 

"There's no point everybody climbing into them because it's not going to do anything other than put them under more pressure and it's not going to fix the problems," he said.

 

Hansen said the All Blacks had chosen their dual playmakers for the game because first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga and fullback Beauden Barrett hadn't played a lot of Test matches together and he wanted them to have more time together. Time was what the pair needed.

 

Priorities in the selection for the Canada and Namibia games, which are only four days apart, was combination, distance between games and players returning from injury.

 

Rieko Ioane is back on the left wing for the first time since the draw with South Africa in Wellington.

 

"He's in a contest against two other guys who are playing wonderful rugby and we know he can also play wonderful rugby. It's important he comes out and plays well and he doesn't get too caught up in that contest, that he does the small things well and the big things will come for him.

 

"Once he does that, which I'm sure he will, the pressure comes back on the selectors to who we have to pick," he said.

 

"It's difficult when you're the top dog and then someone comes along through an injury or through an opportunity and puts you under pressure. I've been impressed with him, he's working hard and waiting for his opportunity. He would have got it against Tonga but he had sore calves and couldn't play so he's had to wait a bit longer," he said.

 

The midfield was a continuation of what had been happening since 2016 where five players had been putting their hands up and been in a contest throughout. Sonny Bill Williams and Jack Goodhue were starting this time.

 

"It hasn't done them [the midfielders] any harm, they're all playing pretty good footy and we've got one back at home who's playing pretty well too," he said.

 

They knew what Goodhue was capable of as he had shown that. He needed playing minutes in his legs after not playing for six weeks.

 

With wing Jordie Barrett it was a case of controlling his enthusiasm. He wanted to do everything at 100 miles an hour, Hansen said, but he was making good progress and he was excited about where he would end up one day.

 

"He's starting to really trust his processes and his preparation and he couldn't be in a better place to learn patience, could he, they're a very patient race of people the Japanese so he's copying them at the moment," he said.

 

A lot of his impatience was borne from his attitude to his sport, both rugby and cricket, and from sibling rivalry where the youngest in the family pushed faster to achieve and it was a case of working with him on settling that and Hansen said he was pleased with the progress Barrett had made.

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