Rugby World Cup 2011

Final two-horse race - Hansen

2011-10-20 08:35
Steve Hansen (File)





Auckland - France's patchy form going into the Rugby World Cup final will have no bearing on what remains a two-horse race, All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen insisted Thursday.

The French lost two pool matches, against New Zealand and Tonga, before progressing as pool runners-up into the quarter-finals when they beat a lamentable England before edging 14-man Wales in the semi-finals.

And Hansen said his thoughts were not at all on his future, with many pundits claiming he will take over from head coach Graham Henry after Sunday's match, but on victory the final.

"All I'm planning for is winning a game," said Hansen, who is assistant to Henry alongside Wayne Smith, the latter looking after the backs with Hansen responsible for the forwards.

"The narrow, short-term goals are the focus. There's no room for anything else at the moment," Hansen insisted,

"It's just a total focus on getting a team ready to play really, really well as we know we're going to have to because the French will play really well.

"Like us, they've earned the right to arrive at Eden Park and play at 10:00 (SA time) on Sunday. It's a two-horse race and both teams will be doing their utmost to win it."

Hansen added: "As the tournament's built so we've built our performance. There's a genuine desire to get the job done and a hungriness for that to happen.

"There's not too many times in your life you get a chance to do something special... you've got to make sure you do it right."

And Hansen played down reports that he was in the hotseat to take over from Henry, with whom both he and Smith have overseen 102 All Blacks Tests.

"It's not even something I'm thinking about at the moment," Hansen said.

"Four years ago we got knocked out of the quarter-final of the World Cup (by France) and the three coaches made a decision to try and re-get the job and we did that, were luckily enough to be reappointed and we're going to turn up on Sunday and try to win this thing.

"I don't care what happens after Sunday night. All I'm focusing on is getting a team ready to turn up to win."

Hansen said that France coach Marc Lievremont's inclusion of prop Nicolas Mas, hooker William Servat and No 8 Imanol Harinodoquy, who all missed the 37-17 pool defeat by the All Blacks, would give the French an added dimension up front.

"It gives them experience, and experience is something that allows you to cope with pressure better," he said of the veteran trio.

"They're quality players in their own right, it will give them a little more versatility in their line-out - (Julien) Bonnaire won't be the only jumper, the scrum will probably improve, and it's the set-pieces that allow you to have a platform."

* RWC final odds on BET.CO.ZA: New Zealand vs France

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
 
Teams

Pool A

 
 
 
 

Pool B

 
 
 
 

Pool C

 
 
 
 

Pool D

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tank Lanning

Lessons learnt from RWC 2011

2011-10-26 16:45

A few vital life lessons from Tank Lanning's recent trip to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup quarter and semi-finals. Read More

 
Rugby World Cup Wallpapers

Download your favourite RWC wallpaper here

 
Weather

Auckland

Saturday

Sunny. Cool.

Low
High

8°C
16°C

Current Conditions
 
Vote

Taking into account where it will be held, the likely player retirements and new coaches in charge, which team looks best-placed to mount a challenge to the All Blacks at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England?

 
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.