#AllBlacks can get down and dirty, says Hansen

Ross Houston
June 24, 2017

If the Lions can't beat the All Blacks in the series-opener - and their best chance of doing so depends on their rigid and successful adherence to the style of play they have produced - they will likely have little chance of winning the series. "We can play down and dirty rugby too if we have to".

Israel Dagg: He did brilliantly to get back and prevent Daly from scoring a try in the opening moments and was conspicuous when the Lions enjoyed their fine start.

"We will go out there and expect to win".

The New Zealand news media highlighted the gulf between the two sides, after the All Blacks came out on top after a tight first half and then dominated the second.

"We are happy with the opportunities we created".

"The All Blacks tight five were very good, but we need to be tough on ourselves and honest in our performance".

Worcester Warriors' Ben Te'o looked a threat throughout, in defence as well as attack, while Anthony Watson, of Bath Rugby, made 53 metres and beat three defenders including one brilliant break in the second half which nearly led to a try.

Although New Zealand claimed a comfortable win on the scoreboard, there were times in the game when the Lions genuinely rocked their world champion hosts, especially with ball in hand.

Read was more modest in his self-assessment, saying only that he did the best he could, and tried to lead the side by example.

"Look, there's a huge amount to play for next week. We need to get back on the horse".

Skipper Kieran Read was superb in his first game back for nearly two months, while Beauden Barrett rarely erred and Ioane finished with aplomb. Since Adam was a cowboy if your tight five do their job then everyone else can play.

The All Blacks countered the renowned Lions' defensive line speed by employing the visitors' tactics of direct crash-and-bash up the middle.

"We left at least two tries out there so I don't think 15 points is a good reflection".

"You put yourself under pressure and when we had them squeezed down around their line, we gave them a soft exit".

The fast delivery allowed Smith to get on the front foot, and with a head fake and some footwork and a pass to Rieko Ioane, the left wing was over for the important try in his first test start which allowed the All Blacks some breathing room.

There was time for a second Lions try, with replacement scrum half Rhys Webb crossing for a converted score with the final play of the game, but in truth it was nothing short of a consolation try.

The Lions flew out of the traps early in the second half, with Watson and Williams causing the All Blacks problems as they broke with pace, though Farrell should have gone for the points with a penalty rather than attempting for a try by going for the corner.

"Really pleased with myself and the team".

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