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Pumas, Wallabies must "smash each other"

2015-10-25 15:58
Steve Hansen (Gallo Images)

Twickenham - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has only one wish for the World Cup semi-final between Argentina and Australia -- he wants them to "smash each other".

His battered All Blacks clawed their way into the final with a narrow 20-18 win in their semi-final against South Africa in the rain at Twickenham on Saturday.

They will play the winner of Sunday's clash between the Pumas and Wallabies in the final next weekend.

The All Blacks, defending world champions and aiming to be the first side to win back-to-back titles, will benefit with an extra days rest according to captain Richie McCaw.

The bruising encounter with the Springboks was one of the toughest he has played in his 147-Test career.

"The intensity, the physicality and what both team threw at each other was right up there," he said.

The All Blacks came home on converted tries to Jerome Kaino and Beauden Barrett with Dan Carter adding a penalty and a drop goal.

For South Africa, who led 12-7 at half-time, Handre Pollard kicked five penalties and Pat Lambie one.

"To come out on the right side of a contest like that is pretty satisfying. You look back on a game like today and, giving yourself a chance to make a World Cup final, its pretty satisfying," McCaw said.

Hansen said he had no preference who the All Blacks came up against in the ultimate showdown.

"We'll look forward to watching Argentina and Australia smash each other and then we'll look forward to a Test match that will be very special," he said.

"I haven't time to waste picking which one I want. You just want them to bash each other to bits and then worry about what we've got to do.

"We'd be very foolish to think that whoever turns up next weekend, regardless of whether it's in yellow or blue-and-white, that they won't turn up with plenty to play for and plenty to give to that game."

The All Blacks have put their full arsenal on display over the past two weeks.

Under the roof at Millennium Stadium they showed what they could do on a dry track in a nine-try extravaganza when they thrashed France 62-13.

In the rain at Twickenham, against a Springbok side with more resilience on defence, they showed their ability to play tight, kick astutely and out-think South Africa.

"Sometimes great performances can look like did against France, and really good performances can look like they did against South Africa," Hansen said.

The Springbok encounter, which extended the All Blacks dominance over their arch-rivals to seven wins from eight matches since the last World Cup, turned in the space of six minutes early in the second half with Dan Carter magic.

The 33-year-old, in his fourth World Cup, snapped a drop goal and then engineered Barrett's try to regain the lead which they clung to through an exchange of penalties until the end.

Hansen was concerned that South Africa's points all came from penalties which could be significant in the final.

Regardless of who wins the second semi-final, Australia's Bernard Foley and Argentina flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez are two of the most accurate kickers in the competition.

Hansen described the penalty count as "worrying" and needed to be addressed.

"They scored a lot of points from kicks at goal and if we can sort that out it makes it hard for the opposition," he said

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