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All Blacks still have 'monkey on back'

2015-09-02 12:24
Steve Hansen (Getty Images)

Wellington - Coach Steve Hansen said on Wednesday there was no complacency in the All Blacks' camp, with fresh Rugby World Cup challenges looming and memories of the New Zealanders' worst-ever defeat still haunting them.

The defending champions entered the last tournament in 2011 determined to end a 24-year World Cup drought and cast off a reputation for choking on the big stage.

With that mission accomplished, Hansen said the 2015 All Blacks had new goals: becoming the first New Zealand team to win the                                                                                                                                                          Webb Ellis trophy on foreign soil, and the first from any nation to successfully defend the crown.

"You've still got a monkey on your back because you've got to win it. There's an expectation to win it same as there was in the last one (2011)," he told reporters.

"The difference is we're going offshore, there's a massive excitement about the challenge we've got. We're trying to do something no other team has done before.

"This team needs big challenges. They've been the number one side in the world for a long time and you can't just keep plodding along doing what you used to do."

Hansen said New Zealand's shock loss to France in the quarter-finals of the 2007 World Cup remained etched in the All Blacks' collective psyche, ensuring they would not allow standards to slip.

Hansen was an assistant coach under Graham Henry for that match, when the heavily favoured All Blacks swaggered into Cardiff's Millennium Stadium and paid the price as Les Bleus carved out an inspired 20-18 win.

"Everyone remembers 2007, whether you were there watching or back home, whether you were a player or a media person - no one's forgotten it," he said.

"It's a great reminder to all of us that if you don't step up you go home."

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