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All Blacks shift attention to Boks

2015-10-18 10:08
Steve Hansen (AFP)

Cardiff - The All Blacks briefly acknowledged their sublime 62-13 elimination of France from the World Cup and then immediately began plotting the downfall of South Africa in the semi-finals next week.

They rated the nine-try assault on France on Saturday as one of their best performances in recent years.

But coach Steve Hansen said the defending champions will have to be even better next time.

A hat-trick of tries by Julian Savea and a swift moving game directed by Dan Carter put the All Blacks a step closer to their stated aim of being the first side to win back-to-back World Cups.

The jitters evident in pool games were gone at Cardiff's packed Millennium Stadium and the mood in the All Blacks camp was they could not afford to let the errors return.

"It was one of the best team performances I've seen for a while," assistant coach Ian Foster said, crediting the All Blacks superior forward power for the way the backs were able to run riot.

"We got a lot of quick ball, a lot of quality ball and the interchange between backs an forwards was excellent. To me it was more about the team effort and getting the components right and the team looked good."

In addition to Savea's three tries, Tawera Kerr-Barlow scored twice and Nehe Milner-Skudder, Brodie Retallick Jerome Kaino and Kieran Read also crossed while Carter added 17 points from the boot.

In a domineering 80 minutes they humiliated France but captain Richie McCaw cautioned the score was irrelevant.

In reality, all they had done was earn themselves another week in the tournament, he said.

"It doesn't matter by how much," he said of the All Blacks record score against France, and the record score for any World Cup knockout game.

"All we've done is earn a chance to play in a semi-final. What happened we're happy with but come Monday we've got to go back and start again because there will be three other teams all with that same attitude."

Head coach Hansen also dampened down the relevance of thrashing France by saying the All Blacks will have to improve against South Africa.

"When you come to the World Cup you come with a plan and we had one. It's been questioned by a few people.

"The key people who didn't question it were people within the group. We trusted what we wanted to do and tonight was a reflection of where we are at," he said.

"Unless we bring the same intensity and the same edge that we had this week to the next contest then our opponents will take advantage. And even if we do, it may not be good enough.

"What is important is that we get there well prepared, both physically and mentally and strategy wise to play one of the best sides in the world."

New Zealand play South Africa at Twickenham next Saturday (17:00 SA time).

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