All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was happy with the performances of Richie McCaw and Dan Carter in Saturday's win over Japan in Tokyo.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was happy with the performances of returning injured duo Richie McCaw and Dan Carter in Saturday's win over Japan in Tokyo.
The All Blacks claimed a 54-6 victory – with both Carter (shoulder) and McCaw (knee) starting together for the first time since September.
Carter, who played 51 minutes, last featured for the All Blacks against the Springboks in Auckland on September 14, when he took a big hit from Bok hooker Bismarck du Plessis.
But Hansen thought he and McCaw, who played at number eight and captained the team, played well.
''I though Ricko was pretty outstanding – as he normally is,'' the All Blacks coach told Fairfax Media.
''For Dan, a long time out of the game with a shoulder injury, he came through really well. I'm looking forward to seeing how he goes next week.''
McCaw, who lasted the whole 80 minutes – after missing the Bledisloe Cup win over the Wallabies in Dunedin earlier this month – was pleased with his performance and praised Japan for their effort.
''It was a pretty quick sort of a game, but it was nice to get 80 minutes under the belt,'' he said.
''[Japan] played some good rugby at times, they got some quick ruck ball and stuff – and we were a bit guilty of giving away a few penalties – you've got to give them credit, definitely.''
Although the All Blacks scored eight tries against them, Hansen believes there were plenty of encouraging signs for Japan.
''It's the first time in 52 test matches they haven't scored a try,'' Hansen said.
''They [were] second in the world at that. Right until the 81st minute we were trying to stop them from scoring. They did play well – and they should be encouraged.''
''We talked all week about respecting the football and earning the right to play. We starting try to do stuff we don't normally do.
“Once we started playing our game, and our structures, he were using our skill set that we were good at.''