November 19, 2017 / 7:02 AM / a year ago

All Blacks coach satisfied despite close call in Edinburgh

(Reuters) - New Zealand narrowly avoided a first defeat to Scotland on Saturday, holding off the hosts 22-17 at Murrayfield, and while the result was much closer than many would have predicted, the world champions’ coach, Steve Hansen, was satisfied with their days work.

Rugby Union - Autumn Internationals - Scotland vs New Zealand - BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Britain - November 18, 2017 New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

“I thought it was a great game of football, I thought Scotland really stood up and were counted and, in return, so did we,” he told reporters.

“Test matches are called test matches because they’re a test of your mental resolve and skill. Both teams contributed to a fine match, and we’re happy because we came out on top.”

Hansen said there was never any doubt that the hosts would make a game of it, despite the fact that Scotland have failed to record a win over the All Blacks in 112 years.

“There are a few things we have got to get better at, no doubt, but we expected what we got because Scotland have been slowly improving the last 12-18 months, and that was a pretty impressive performance,” he said.

“People that understand the game will know that Scotland played particularly well, and they’ll know they’ve beaten Australia this year and this was their first loss at home in the last five games.

“That tells you they’re not a bad side.”

Hansen said that the game should serve as a reminder just how competitive world rugby has become.

“Everyone back home was telling us how they were getting bored with us being dominant. Well, they’ll have to go away and have a cup of tea and think about that,” he said.

“We’re getting challenged both mentally and skill-wise, and we’re trying to get better all the time. Everyone else is getting better, and we have to as well.”

The All Blacks outscored the Scots three tries to two but Scottish fullback Stuart Hogg could have sealed a famous victory when he broke through in the last minute to come within inches of a try but was snagged by Beauden Barrett short of the line.

Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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