“I’m obviously disappointed. Australia played particularly well and deserved the win. They were the best side on the day. The red card didn’t help us but we didn’t help ourselves either.
“Our changing shed is very disappointed because of how we performed and that’s how it should be. Australia gave us a lesson in what to do when you have a side down by one man.”
Even Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said he could sympathise with the Kiwis despite World Rugby making it very clear that contact with the neck and head region was being scrutinised closely.
“I like to play the game tough, so it’s disappointing for me [that] a player gets sent off for that but the referees have given guidelines … he made the decision they’re required to make,” Cheika said. “I’m torn on both sides.”
Asked if the red card detracted from the win, which gives Australia a chance next week to win the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002, Cheika replied, “not a chance”.
“When they’ve got 15 on the field it seems like they’ve got 20,” Cheika said. “When they’ve got 14 on the field it still feels like 17 or 18. They’ve got so many threats. It’s not like they weren’t scoring tries. They’ve got so much potency in their team.
“We didn’t even talk about the guy getting sent off at half-time. [There was] not a word because we know how good they are and how that’s a sucker punch if you start thinking about that.”
The All Blacks missed 37 of their 180 tackles for the evening and gave away eight penalties to Australia’s four.
Hansen said the team’s discipline was not up to scratch and the All Blacks will spend the next week picking up the pieces from a defeat that could see them lose their No.1 world ranking if Wales defeat England on Saturday at Twickenham.
“Our discipline was poor,” Hansen said. “There were numerous occasions when we got offside when we didn’t need to.
“It was dumb footy and we’ve got to be smarter than that.
“At the same time I’m extremely proud of the way they hung in. Australia wanted to play footy and they wanted to play fast. In the end we couldn’t cover the extra space.”
All Blacks captain Kieran Read said: “It was tough. [The red card] limits our ability to get set and try and defend it. They took advantage of [the fact] we were one player down. We piggy-backed them into our 22. Once you’re there it’s difficult for us to defend.”
Tom Decent is a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald