Hansen lauds All Blacks character after dramatic Bledisloe Cup triumph
Steve Hansen saluted the spirit of his New Zealand side after they snatched a 35-29 victory over Australia to retain the Bledisloe Cup on a dramatic night in Dunedin.
The All Blacks trailed 17-0 after only 15 minutes at the Forsyth Barr Stadium following a try from Israel Folau inside 30 seconds and further scores from Michael Hooper and Bernard Foley.
Rieko Ioane and Aaron Smith went over before half-time as the Wallabies' advantage was reduced to only three points and the All Blacks were 28-22 to the good with three minutes to play after Beauden Barrett and Ben Smith crossed either side of a Will Genia five-pointer.
Kurtley Beale looked to have won it when he came up with Australia's fifth try, but Barrett's second settled a pulsating Test a minute from time as four missed kicks from Foley proved to be costly.
New Zealand head coach Hansen took great satisfaction from the way the world champions refused to accept defeat a week after blowing Australia away in a one-sided first half in Sydney.
He said: "To be 17 points down and come back, you've got to have the composure and to lose the lead again in the 74th or whatever minute it was, a lot of sides would have chucked it in, but they didn't and they got their rewards for it.
"Australia played well, they were given opportunities and they took them. They stayed in the game the whole the way through and they've got to be pleased with themselves as well."
The Wallabies were ridiculed after conceding six first-half tries in the Bledisloe Cup opener on home soil, but Hansen felt their performance a week later showed they should not be written off.
"It's hard to say whether they are turning the corner or not. I think they've always been a good side." he said.
"They played some good rugby tonight and they will be disappointed, they could easily have won the match. I'm not sure about turning the corner, as I don't think they needed to.
"Last week they played their first game, probably most of them, in four or five weeks. It's really hard when you've got a group that has gone through finals and the intensity of that, they finished the game last week really well and came into this game and played well again."