Steve Hansen says bonus point crucial ahead of decider
Last Updated: 29/09/13 1:56pm
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen says their last-gasp bonus point against Argentina could prove decisive in their bid to win the Rugby Championship.
The All Blacks ran out 33-15 winners in La Plata but Ben Smith's try in the dying moments earned the four-try bonus point which puts them five points ahead of South Africa ahead of next weekend's decider in Johannesburg.
"It was nothing more than we expected."
The Springboks must win with a bonus point to take the title away from the Kiwis, and Hansen says an open game at Ellis Park will suit the All Blacks.
"They are going to have to play some rugby to get four tries. That will suit us as much as it will suit them," he said.
"Our guys are looking forward to it, they're already started talking about it so I don't think there will be any problem getting them up," he said.
New Zealand led just 11-9 at half-time after a bruising opening 40 minutes.
"It was nothing more than we expected," said Hansen.
"They are a side that is getting better all the time. They're very, very good up front and they tried to play a bit of rugby today and played it quite well so we had to work for it, and the bonus point right at the end was exactly that, a bonus for us.
"We were a lot clearer with what we wanted to do in the second half, we kicked a lot better, got a lot more urgent...and as a result of that we started going forward."
All Blacks skipper Kieran Read admitted that it "was a very tough game."
"They came out firing and kept the crowd in it throughout that first half," he said.
"We probably just weren't there but full credit to the way the Argentineans came at us. It's going to be a big match next week. We've got to recover well. It's a long flight tomorrow but we've got to take the positives out of tonight.
"I thought that early part of the second half was great from our point of view, so we'll build on that for next week.
"I think that (bonus point) could be crucial. We worked very hard to get that in the end."