Hansen optimistic over Cruden neck injury


Steve Hansen says New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden is likely to be given the all-clear after initial tests on a serious-looking neck injury revealed no major damage.

New Zealand's 36-22 victory over Wales in the second Test in Wellington was delayed for 10 minutes as Cruden received treatment after being hurt in a ruck.

Cruden was taken to hospital and preliminary x-rays have given the 27-year-old positive news.

"Doc has been in touch and it sounds like he is going to be okay," All Black coach Hansen said.

"They're just doing some precautionary things at the moment, but the word is he's pretty good."

Cruden had kicked five points before being taken off, with his replacement Beauden Barrett adding three conversions and a try as the All Blacks sealed the series.

Hansen was pleased with the performance of his side, but believes there is still more to come.

"There was a lot more clarity about what we were trying to do," he said.

"There were big improvements across the board, our line out was much better and the scrum as well.

"You'd still expect a lot of improvement [for the third Test]."

Israel Dagg and Ben Smith both scored tries on their 50th appearance for New Zealand, while Waisake Naholo and Ardie Savea also went over for the world champions, who will seek to complete a whitewash in Dunedin next weekend.