New Zealand worthy winners - O'Driscoll


Rugby:Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll admitted that New Zealand fully merited their 42-10 victory at Eden Park: “They played well. For a team that had not played since the World Cup final that was a good standard.

“They bring a real intensity and great tempo and try to keep the ball in play as much as they can. Some of their scores we didn’t help ourselves but they also constructed a few as well. They were worthy winners.”

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen’s gamble on naming three debutants paid dividends as Julian Savea scored a hat-trick of tries.

After eight years as an assistant to World Cup winning coach Graham Henry, Hansen, has stepped into arguably the most scrutinised rugby job in the world with a brief to balance the All Blacks’ high standards and build a side capable of defending the Webb Ellis trophy in 2015.

The former police officer gave Savea, scrumhalf Aaron Smith and lock Brodie Retallick their test debuts, with all three proving more than adequately they could make the step up to internationals from Super 15 rugby.

While Hansen praised the work of Retallick in the tight, Smith’s passing and decision making and Savea’s three tries, he reserved special praise for the 12 players in the starting line-up who were in the World Cup winning squad last year. “The thing that pleased me the most of all was not the debutants, but the leaders in the team and our senior players.

“They could have easily come in and been comfortable and all week they have displayed enthusiasm, excitement and a commitment to get the job done and they led the way. We started the week out with one purpose and to have a performance we would be proud of and we have to be proud of what we did.”