Steve Hansen

Hansen hoping for All Black improvement despite victory

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen believes there is plenty for his All Blacks side to work on after they battled their way to a 25-16 win over Samoa on Wednesday.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen believes there is plenty for his All Blacks side to work on after they battled their way to a 25-16 win over Samoa on Wednesday.

The All Blacks opened up a 22-9 lead with 20 minutes to go in Apia before Alafoti Fa’osiliva crossed for Samoa to trim the lead to six points.

But a sixth penalty of the game from Dan Carter – who also set up George Moala for his debut try with a cross-field kick – six minutes from time secured victory for the world champions.

Hansen's men, who  will welcome the British & Irish Lions in 2017, now face Argentina in the opening game of the Rugby Championship in Christchurch a week on Friday.

"Whilst we probably didn't play the way we wanted to, we were a bit scratchy, playing in that heat some of the guys have mentioned it was the toughest conditions they've played in," Hansen said.

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"To be able to hang in there and show the spirit against a team that were playing so well was good. Clearly, we've got a lot to work on between now and Argentina but that's fine. We're looking forward to doing that.

"If you asked for the perfect game to take you into the Rugby Championship, this is it. They put us under a lot of pressure.

"Yes it was bloody tough but test matches are meant to be. We weren't perfect but we've got a foundation to tidy up."

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