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Hansen hails All Blacks' attacking spirit

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/10/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">Steve Hansen's faith in his team to make the right decision on attack bore fruit with their masterful crushing of the Springboks in Durban.</span> © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Steve Hansen's faith in his team to make the right decision on attack bore fruit with their masterful crushing of the Springboks in Durban. Even coach Steve Hansen couldn't believe what he was seeing at times from his All Blacks.

A 57-15 rout of South Africa was among the most comprehensive displays in Hansen's five-year reign as head coach, which is saying something given the success he has enjoyed.

But he was quick to divert praise for the nine-try performance to his players, after giving them a licence to attack.

That was obvious in several of their tries, which came from a willingness to keep the ball in hand.

Often, to Hansen's surprise, it came from a long way out.

"There were one or two times when we attacked from deep that I thought maybe a kick would have been OK," he said.

"But you've just got to let them play. They've got the skills and understand how we want them to play. It was a special performance."

The winning margin was the biggest by any team in Test history on South African soil, surpassing New Zealand's 52-16 win in Pretoria in 2003.

While the Springboks scored all their points through penalty kicks, the All Blacks eschewed several opportunities to score three points.

They chose to attack relentlessly, successfully employing a game plan to tire the bedraggled hosts.

"It took us a while to settle down but once we started running hard and straight and into holes, we caused them a few problems," Hansen said.

"We asked them to make a lot of tackles. Yes, we made a couple of errors but in the end they ran out of petrol a wee bit and part of that's because of the tackling we made them do in the first half."

Flanker Jerome Kaino says taking the sting out of South Africa's physical game was the first task, opening the door for seven second-half tries.

He says the All Blacks felt confident of pulling clear in the second half after leading just 12-9 at the break.

"A lot of times it comes down to belief. There's a great brotherhood here and the guys are enjoying their rugby at the moment."

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