Tri-Nations - McCaw praises All Blacks defence
Reuters - Sat, 07 Aug 12:25:00 2010
The All Blacks seized their opportunities in a match that had sharply contrasting halves, with converted tries to Mils Muliaina and Conrad Smith and two penalties to Daniel Carter negating Kurtley Beale's try and a conversion and penalty to Matt Giteau.
Unlike last week's 49-28 All Blacks victory in Melbourne where both sides combined to score 10 tries, Saturday's match degenerated, after a scintillating beginning, into a bruising defensive encounter.
The All Blacks were forced to make 110 tackles on Saturday, and only missed five, as the Wallabies continuously recycled ball but failed to penetrate the swarming black defensive line.
"It was right up there," McCaw said when he was asked of how he rated his team's defensive performance. "It shows the character in the team.
"In the past few games we've won them by scoring tries, whereas tonight it was the defence that won us the game. We took our opportunities in the first half then had to defend.
"There were some big hits in there, but... boys kept getting up."
McCaw said the effort had taken its toll on the team, with the Wallabies having to make just 75 tackles while they held onto the ball for sustained periods. They also won 110 rucks and mauls to the All Blacks' 70.
"It does take a fair bit out of you and I know the guys, with 10 minutes to go, didn't have a lot of gas left in the tank," McCaw said.
"There were some fairly big hits out there (and) ... there will certainly be some sore bodies tomorrow in both teams."
New Zealand next travel to South Africa to face the Springboks on August 21 before finishing their campaign against Australia in Sydney on September 11.