Pressure mounts on All Blacks’ big Bledisloe showdown

By Jamie Wall

All Black coach Steve Hansen, Codie Taylor and Beauden Barrett

All Black coach Steve Hansen said it doesn’t matter who his Wallaby counterpart Michael Cheika picks for Saturday night’s Bledisloe Cup decider, because his side knows what they have to do.

“They’re going to come with a lot of confidence, a lot of resolve and they’ve got one hand on the cup. We’ve got to take it off it.” he told a packed media press conference at the Heritage Hotel today in Auckland.

Tension was high as Hansen dealt with a number of questions around the All Blacks’ feelings of getting one back against an Australian side that posted a record score in Perth last weekend. The 47-26 loss has sent World Cup preparations into a bit of a tailspin, especially after lock Scott Barrett found himself suspended for three weeks.

It’s meant Hansen has had to radically alter his team in a week in which most people thought the All Blacks would be cruising to another victory against a previously hapless Wallabies outfit.

“There’s a fine line all the time” he said in terms of being able to make a statement physically while maintaining discipline.

“It’s the same for Australia. They’ll want to come with physicality and intent, and they’ve shown they can bring it.”

Meanwhile, hooker Codie Taylor admitted that the Wallabies were hungrier than the All Blacks last week.

“We’ve got to be better than that this Saturday” he said.

“We’ve got to front up every week otherwise we’re going to have media rooms full like this.”