Rugby Championship

Hansen accuses Coetzee of playing mind games

2017-10-03 22:10
Steve Hansen (Getty)

Cape Town - New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has dismissed a defeatist comment by South Africa counterpart Allister Coetzee as "reverse psychology" ahead of their Rugby Championship clash this weekend.

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Speaking after a 27-27 draw with Australia last weekend, Coetzee said those who believe his inexperienced Springboks can easily topple the All Blacks "is living in a fool's paradise".

Coetzee has suffered three humiliating losses to New Zealand since he replaced Heyneke Meyer last year - 41-13 in Christchurch, 57-15 in Durban and 57-0 in Auckland.

The Auckland annihilation last month was the heaviest defeat suffered by the Springboks in their 126-year history.

"It is reverse psychology," insisted Hansen on Tuesday in Cape Town, where the teams meet Saturday before a sell-out 52 000 crowd in Newlands stadium.

"Believe it if you (the media) want to, but we will not be," stressed the 2015 Rugby World Cup-winning coach.

"You have got to understand what Allister is up to with that comment - he is psyching his own team up."

Hansen watched on TV the stalemate between South Africa and Australia in Bloemfontein and believed the home side could have won.

"I thought they (South Africa) were pretty dangerous and had they just been more accurate at times, they would have scored some more points."

Hansen believes New Zealand were flattered by the 57-point triumph at Eden Park in which the reigning world champions scored eight tries.

"The fact that the score got away probably was not a true reflection. We were pretty fortunate. Every opportunity we created, we took."

The 57-year-old former policeman said winning the Rugby Championship last weekend for the fifth time in six attempts in no way diminished the significance of the Cape Town Test.

"You know the All Blacks and you know that they are under pressure all the time to win and win well. Winning the title last weekend does not change anything.

"The fact that we have won the Championship is obviously pleasing, but we are playing against the old foe with a lot of history and we have a lot of respect for them."

Hansen left backs Ryan Crotty and Lima Sopoaga and forwards Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane and Liam Squire in New Zealand last week to rest.

Spared the long journey to Argentina, where the All Blacks triumphed 36-10, they have arrived in Cape Town, bar Retallick, whose partner miscarried.

Waisake Naholo, Luke Romano, Vaea Fifita, Ardie Savea and Ngani Laumape have returned to New Zealand after playing in Buenos Aires.

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