All Blacks: Steve Hansen defends Beauden Barrett for missing conversions in loss to Springboks

All Blacks Steve Hansen has once again been forced to defend Beauden Barrett after the first-five missed four conversion attempts during the 36-34 loss to South Africa on Saturday.

Those eight missed points were crucial, as the Springboks claimed their first victory over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil since 2009.

Last time Barrett played a test he scored four tries in a 30-point haul against the Wallabies, but that seems like a long time ago.

The All Blacks raced out to a 12-0 lead early in the match before the Boks fought back to take the lead before halftime, which they never surrendered.

In total, the All Blacks kicked 33 percent off the tee while Handre Pollard was five from six, kicking four conversions and a penalty goal.

Two of Barrett's attempted conversions hit the post.

"We could sit here and turn around [and say] 'yep, we could've kicked a couple of goal and won the game'. But that's not why we lost the game," Hansen said.

Willie Le Roux celebrates the win.
Willie Le Roux celebrates the win. Photo credit: Photosport

"We lost the game because we allowed South Africa to score 36 points and that's something that we can control as a team. It's a team game and, in this case, I know Beauden's feeling it and he'll be disappointed, but he'll come out next week maybe and kick a 100 percent.

"That's the way goalkicking it is. You can't carry that bag of coal around on your back all the time, because it would kill you. While it would've been nice [to kick more goals] it just didn't happen tonight."

With the siren about to sound the All Blacks had a scrum five metres from the try-line, and numerous golden opportunities to kick a drop goal, which would have won them the match - but they opted to go for the glory of a match-winning try.

After attacking the line for two minutes, Damian McKenzie knocked the ball on and the game was over.

"It comes down to our drivers to make that call and go for it," All Blacks captain Kieran Read said afterwards.

Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus said he knew the All Blacks weren't going to kick the drop goal as they always go for the try.

"That's the way they do things, again that is a compliment to them," he said.

"I didn't even think that Beauden [Barrett] would drop goal. I guess it was an option to score, but that is not the New Zealand way.

"Maybe in a World Cup Beauden would do that, but not in a [Rugby] Championship game."