“It was one of those things that as soon as that happens, you wish you hadn’t”, the All Blacks captain said after the match.
However, it was a sign that the All Blacks were starting to gain an edge as they upped the pace of the game.
McCaw was booed loudly by the Argentina fans in the crowd at Wembley, and admitted he had made a mistake.
Successive defeats in the World Cup warm-ups may have dampened expectations somewhat, but back-to-back Six Nations titles ensures that the squad is confident of going far.
In their previous 21 meetings, Argentina have failed to beat New Zealand.
“There’s real excitement, enthusiasm and hunger in the group”, Hansen said.
Richie McCaw will lead the All Blacks for the 143rd time while Tony Woodcock, who along with flyhalf Dan Carter is a also a test centurion, will equal Englishman Jason Leonard’s world record of 104 test starts at prop. “We haven’t played for five weeks so the game will do us the world of good”. It was a joy to watch and the excitement that came from the endeavour of both sides, despite the South Africans’ ultimate disappointment, was palpable.
He nearly had a try assist but for Nehe Milner-Skudder dropping the ball cold but fortunately for the All Blacks Aaron Smith scored after wrong-footing his opposite Tomas Cubelli close to the line and Sam Cane, after first dropping a sitter, made it safe with a try of his own. They have to turn up and play to win but I do think this side has enough experience to do that every time.
Hansen said before arriving in England that New Zealand’s shock loss to France in the quarter-finals of the 2007 World Cup remained etched in the All Blacks’ collective psyche, ensuring they would not allow standards to slip.
“With Georgia we will have to have the best team so we need to check those players who have been injured or are very exhausted “, he said.
And while it didn’t cost them on this occasion, Hansen knows that they can’t afford to repeat the trick, especially when the knock-out stages get underway.
McCaw and Carter became the first All Blacks to appear in four World Cups, but South Africa showed on Saturday in Brighton, when they lost against Japan, that experience does not always mean that players lack nervousness. Everyone’s been half a second off the pace.
Hansen, though quick to praise his team and Argentina for a fantastic game, was decidedly unimpressed with his team’s discipline when addressing the press post-match.
“Now that’s out of the way, you’ll see all teams settle down, you’ll see improvement, and execution”.