By Adrian Warren
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has both baited and damned the Wallabies with faint praise after his relentless All Blacks performed another demolition job on Australia.
The 47-29 loss in Saturday's Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship game in Sydney means Australia have now won just two of their past 18 games against the world champions.
It leaves Australia with the Herculean task of beating the All Blacks twice in New Zealand if they want to hold the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in 11 years.
Despite New Zealand's indisputable recent dominance of the Wallabies, Hansen surprisingly suggested Australia wasn't getting their share of luck in their trans-Tasman encounters.
"It's just at the moment we seem to have a little bit more luck against them than they have against us," Hansen said.
"But I think they've got the nucleus of a very good side and I think they've had a nucleus of a very good side for a long time."
Asked about Australian five-eighths Matt Toomua and Quade Cooper, Hansen couldn't resist making a jibe about the amount of New Zealand born pivots in the two squads.
"I'm just happy that I've got Dan Carter and Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett for that matter, so all five of these people are very good rugby players," Hansen said.
"Four of them are New Zealanders and I'm not sure where Toomua was born either, it might be all five."
Unlike Cooper, Toomua wasn't born in New Zealand, not unless it has suddenly claimed ownership of Melbourne, where Toomua was born.
Hansen felt Cruden and captain Richie McCaw answered their critics with their efforts in Saturday's game.
"To come back after having a break and everyone doubted him, to get through the 70 minutes like he (McCaw) did, shows the character of the bloke once again," Hansen said.
"So hopefully there won't be any more doubters.
"I want to talk a little bit about Aaron Cruden too. There's people that question-marked him at times at this level.
"I think he showed tonight that he is a true international player of world-class ability and he led the team very well."
Hansen was also pleased with the performances of veteran centre Ma'a Nonu and flanker Steven Luatua, who made his Test debut in Sydney.
source: newshub archive