A FORMER Gisborne man says he is honoured to be given the opportunity to carry the New Zealand flag on to Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin tomorrow night for the Bledisloe Cup test between the All Blacks and Australia. The Wallabies scored three tries but every one of them involved some luck.
Hansen had special reason to savour the win after pundits, fans and the media in rugby-mad New Zealand had started to question the team's mental toughness following a drawn series against the British and Irish Lions earlier this year.
Hansen said the All Blacks looked frantic early on in the clash, as the Wallabies raced to a 17-0 lead after just 15 minutes.
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Smith will begin his All Blacks sabbatical after this week's Dunedin Test against the Wallabies.
And with the Wallabies' next match in Perth on September 9, the timing couldn't be more ideal.
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Michael Cheika initially had made three changes to the Wallabies' starting side, two in the backline plus Simmons, to contest the Test.
Barrett's second try of the match came just two minutes after Wallabies center Kurtley Beale had given his side a 29-28 lead and hope of keeping the trans-Tasman Bledisloe Cup series alive for the third game in Brisbane on October 21.
"They're unsafe, they're hungry, they've certainly got a point to prove, so you can't take any team lightly". We do lots of good stuff away from the field but what counts is on the field for everybody. "You don't like to be gallant losers", Cheika said. "We had to dig deep, but those are the games, those little moments and I guess we just got one right at the end there".
In seven editions, the Black Ferns have won the title four times, England twice and the United States once but a good semi-final win over the USA has given the Kiwis the momentum they need to also avenge a 29-21 defeat to England in Rotorua last June.
Australia survived a late scare on the stroke of half time when Ben Smith was ruled by the TMO to have lost the ball attempting to ground it alongside the goalpost pad. But more important than the luck was an added enthusiasm to get up hard in defence, to compete at the breakdown and slow down the ball, to take the hard line and cart up the ball, and to throw caution to the wind and let the ball do the work.
Foley missed another conversion minutes later after Will Genia crossed, hitting the upright for the third time to leave the door open for the world champions.