21 Sep 2015

Hansen: All Black yellow cards 'pretty dumb'

9:05 am on 21 September 2015

Coach Steve Hansen has called out two of his most senior players after their poor discipline hurt the All Blacks in their opening Rugby World Cup win over Argentina.

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. New Zealand v Argentina Rugby World Cup 2015 match at Wembley Stadium in London.

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. New Zealand v Argentina Rugby World Cup 2015 match at Wembley Stadium in London. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The World Cup holders were briefly reduced to 13 men after captain Richie McCaw and centre Conrad Smith were both sin-binned in the first half of the 26-16 win.

McCaw's came first when he tripped an Argentina player to prevent a quick tap, before Smith infringed at the breakdown with the Pumas hot on attack.

Both were blatant infringements and easy decisions for English referee Wayne Barnes.

The All Blacks coach wasn't impressed at having to spend time with more than 200 Tests worth of experience in the sin-bin.

"I think the two yellow cards were pretty dumb," Hansen told reporters after the match.

"I have spoken to the two guys and they know they were dumb ones. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, you get a little brain explosion but the rest of the discipline was pretty good.

"You can't afford to play with 14 guys on the track."

McCaw's incident turned him into a pantomime villain in the eyes of the Argentina fans at Wembley Stadium and he was vigourously booed every time he appeared on the big screen.

But Hansen said it was nothing new for his skipper.

"It's normal over here. It's been happening for years. We'll take it for what it is, a mark of respect against a great player."

"You don't get booed unless you're any good. If you're no good, no-one cares."

McCaw himself admitted he made a dumb mistake and couldn't blame the crowd for getting stuck into him either.

"I was sitting in the sin-bin at the time so I didn't really have a lot of comeback with that. You can't worry about those sort of things, it is what it is," he said.

Despite the performance showing plenty of signs of rust, Hansen was pleased with the strength his side showed, especially the bench players.

"Our guys showed a lot of attitude. They haven't played for five weeks and they'll improve from that."

"We're on the scoreboard and can move on and look forward to our next game in confidence."

That next game is against Namibia on Friday.

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