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McCaw - I'm proud of my boys
All Blacks skipper delighted with Auckland response
With our backs against the wall, the boys came out today and showed what they're capable of - I'm pretty proud.
Quotes of the week
Richie McCaw heaped praise on the character of his players after they answered their critics with a resounding 39-10 victory over Australia in the Tri-Nations on Saturday.
In what was the final game at Eden Park before its revamp, McCaw returned from injury to inspire his under-fire side to a win which ended Australia coach Robbie Deans' unbeaten run at the helm.
What pleased McCaw most was the way his side responded after last week's 34-19 reversal in Sydney - a game he sat out through injury - to level the Bledisloe Cup at one game each.
"We got out-muscled last week, so the boys really wanted to put in a good performance."
The win came on the back of a fine team performance, with two tries apiece from Tony Woodcock and Ma'a Nonu, who answered his critics with a fine display.
But McCaw was quick to praise the front five for their impressive display, a performance that allowed Dan Carter to run his backs with precision.
"How we operate obviously depends on how the boys are tidying out in the tight five - it was a good performance from them," McCaw said.
"We were going forward and the backs got us on the front foot and made it easier for us.
"With our backs against the wall, the boys came out today and showed what they're capable of - I'm pretty proud.
"We talked about the little things that let us down last week. We focused on starting well today and making sure we kept that up for eighty minutes."
New Zealand built a healthy 18-3 lead inside the opening twenty-five minutes that proved to be the perfect platform from which to win the game in fine style.
"As our confidence grew it became easier," McCaw added. "We got the first couple of line-outs then scored a couple of tries, one anyway from a good set move.
"As your confidence grows it helps put pressure on the opposition."
McCaw stressed the importance of the win, a victory which propelled the All Blacks to the top of the Tri-Nations table, one point ahead of the Wallabies.
"When you lose two in a row it's crucial to get back on the horse," said McCaw.
"We've set a standard now, we can't afford to go back so we've got to carry on from here and continue to improve."