Coach Steve Hansen said his world champion All Blacks would bounce back from their off-night after losing the Rugby Championship decider to the Wallabies 27-19 in Sydney on Saturday.
The Wallabies showed plenty of resolve as they continued their improvement under new coach Michael Cheika in their third win in the southern hemisphere tournament ahead of next month’s World Cup.
Hansen conceded the Wallabies were the better side as they lost to their trans-Tasman rivals for the first time since the Tri-Nations decider in Brisbane in 2011.
“We just got beaten by a better side on the night. We have to face up to that reality,” Hansen said.
“It’s an inconvenient fact. But we’ve been here before, we’ve lost games before and doesn’t mean to say we’ve become a bad side.”
Hansen said his team was hurting from losing to the Wallabies, but would use it to fire them up for the return Test in Auckland next weekend.
The Wallabies now have the chance to win back the Bledisloe Cup from the All Blacks they last held in 2002.
“We were in the game all the way through it, until we had a period there of about 10 minutes where we made some really poor decisions,” Hansen said.
“When you’re under the pump, you’ve got to win those moments.
“I would prefer to have no off nights. I think in 2011 we had an off night in Brisbane and was something we learnt from and we have to learn from this one.
“You bottle up the hurt and you make it work for you.”
Captain Richie McCaw, who played his 141st international to equal the current world record held by Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll, said his team made some poor decisions when they hit the front 19-17 with 16 minutes left.
“We got ourselves ahead on the scoreboard and that’s probably the moment there that we needed to really get things spot on and make the Wallabies do they things they weren’t accustomed to,” McCaw said.
“We made it a bit easy through some poor decision making and they took their chances.
“That’s probably a period of the game that’s critical. And we’ve won games in the past because we’ve got that right and tonight we didn’t.” – Agence France-Presse