Steve Hansen (AFP)
Twickenham - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen believes the World Cup play-off for third should be done away with and has questioned whether it is only staged as a money-making exercise.
New Zealand avoided the battle of the losers when they narrowly beat South Africa 20-18 in a gripping semi-final at Twickenham on Saturday.
But Hansen had sympathy for the Springboks who must now prepare themselves to play the loser of the Australia-Argentina semi-final.
The All Blacks narrow victory over the Springboks was such an emotionally draining do-or-die battle that the bitterly disappointed Springboks should not be expected to refocus for a bronze-medal match, the All Blacks coach said.
"I wouldn't want to be playing it. I don't think the players want to play it. It's difficult.
"Emotionally when you get beaten and you get knocked out of the tournament it knocks you around especially if you get as close as they did to getting into the final.
"I know if the two-point margin had been the other way we wouldn't feel like playing."
Dejected Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was also not happy having to pick his side up when the only prize they sought was out of reach.
"Mentally, it's very tough," said Meyer. "It does not mean anything to me. It is like kissing your sister."
Hansen said he had no idea why the game was played but raised possible theories.
"Is it another gate? Another way of making some extra money? I'm not sure," he said suggesting his question should be directed at World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper.
"Ask him why they think it's necessary to play it.
"If you went to both teams both teams would say it's really difficult to get back up and play that game after the emotional roller coaster of being beaten in the semi-final."
The All Blacks are aiming to become the first side to win the World Cup three times and the first side to successfully defend the title.
But in previous tournaments they have experienced having to play-off for third, losing to Scotland in 1991 and South Africa in 1999 while beating France in 2003.