Hansen laughs off 'baloney'

2014-11-09 11:24
Steve Hansen (AFP)

London - New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has dismissed as "baloney" suggestions his side had gained any sort of psychological advantage by beating England 24-21 at Twickenham on Saturday.

Some pundits had billed the match as a potential dress rehearsal for next year's World Cup final, which will take place at Twickenham.

But while the All Blacks may be the reigning world champions, they have never lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy on foreign soil.

And the memory of their shock 2007 quarter-final loss to France in Cardiff in particular meant Hansen was taking nothing for granted.

"A lot of people have been talking about the psychological advantage of winning today (Saturday)," Hansen said.

"There's a lot of us think that's a load of baloney. There's no psychological advantage if we don't make it to the next stage to play England."

He added: "There are some great rugby teams that are going to go to the World Cup. The World Cup's not about one team, it's about five or six.

"The All Blacks have shown many times you can be top dog and not get there. So if you haven't got your ducks in a row when the time comes, you don't make it.

"There's no psychological advantage because World Cups have shown time and time again that prior history goes out the door.

"We beat France numerous times by a lot of points and we lost to them in 2007. We are not even assuming we are going to play England. We've got a round-robin and we hope we qualify first or second."

Looking ahead to August's cut-off date for World Cup squads, Hansen said: "If all of our guys are fit, we are going to leave some good players out.

"That doesn't mean we can rock over here and win the World Cup.

"South Africa will do the same thing, Australia are improving all the time and England have got plenty of depth."

England, with Jonny May opening the scoring in just the fourth minute with his maiden Test try -- a score Hansen labelled "soft" after the wing beat Conrad Smith and Israel Dagg -- led 14-11 at half-time.

But New Zealand hit back with second-half tries from captain Richie McCaw and replacement forward Charlie Faumuina before England's late penalty try narrowed the final score.

Despite being a man down for 10 minutes when hooker Dane Coles was sin-binned in the 57th minute, the vastly more experienced All Blacks out-scored 2015 World Cup hosts England 3-0 in that period.

"It's got nothing to do with caps, it's got to do with the people wearing the respective jerseys," said Hansen.

The result meant England had suffered their fifth successive defeat by the All Blacks.

But coach Stuart Lancaster, without seven British and Irish Lions, was encouraged by the way his injury-hit side performed.

"We've played them four times now this year and we haven't got the right result but we don't feel we're far away," Lancaster said.

"We've got some good players watching the game today so we'll keep our confidence and maintain the direction in which we're going.

"The All Blacks have played eight games and two-and-a-half months together since we last played them and I thought we put them under pressure.

"We created opportunities in attack but obviously there's a period of play they constructed that shows why they have the experience to close out a game like that.

"That's what we've got to get."

While New Zealand face Scotland, who've never beaten the All Blacks, in Edinburgh next weekend, England face South Africa at Twickenham.

The Springboks -- who suffered a shock 29-15 loss to Ireland in Dublin later on Saturday -- remain the only major side Lancaster's England have yet to beat and recently ended the All Blacks' 22-match unbeaten run.

"Now we're playing the number two side in the world, who have beaten the number one side in the world, so the challenge is just as big next week," said Lancaster.

Read more on:    all blacks  |  steve hansen  |  rugby

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