9 Jun 2014

Coach backs Cruden's quick tap

11:54 am on 9 June 2014

The All Black coach Steve Hansen has applauded first five Aaron Cruden for taking a quick tap rather than a shot at goal in Saturday night's 20-15 win over England.

With the score locked at 15-15 late in the game, and an under-strength England team reduced to just 14 men after winger Marland Yarde was yellow carded in the 68th minute for a professional foul, the All Blacks were awarded a kickable penalty late in the match, which Cruden decided to run without permission from his captain.

The game's only try to Conrad Smith in the 78th minute came from Cruden's decision, and Hansen says it was the right one.

That gave the All Blacks the victory that extended their winning streak at Eden Park to 32 games, and the coach says logic suggests Cruden should have kicked the goal, but that's what England would have wanted.

He says his team is encouraged to play what's in front of them and the selectors were supportive of Cruden's decision.

Cruden says he got the call for the quick tap from fellow players Beuden Barrett and Victor Vito.

He says he took the tap after seeing the English retreating to the goal posts in anticipation of the shot at goal.

But Hansen was far from satisfied after such a scratchy opening performance in the three-Test series.

He concedes they'll need a much-improved performance in the second Test with England bringing back a number of first choice players.

Kieran Read appears unlikely to play the second Test in Dunedin, with a full week's training more likely as the coaching staff continue to handle their star No.8 with kid gloves over his concussion problems.