Hansen to keep All Blacks on their toes

2015-09-21 21:00
Richie McCaw and Steve Hansen (Getty Images)

London - Having negotiated their toughest Pool C obstacle Argentina, New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said the All Blacks would not rest on their laurels and be caught looking ahead to the Rugby World Cup knockout stages just yet.

The holders came away with a 26-16 victory from a bruising encounter with the Pumas at Wembley on Sunday and Hansen will ring the changes for the Thursday's game against Namibia at the Olympic Stadium.

They then face the "massive men" of Georgia, in what Hansen expects to be another physical battle, before taking on Tonga.

"We've got out of it exactly what we wanted, a tough contest, a challenge in some areas. We've got some areas we've got to improve on, but the most important thing is that we got a win and it gives us the opportunity to control our own destiny," Hansen told reporters on Monday.

"Watching Georgia the other day, they're massive men and they'll take some encouragement about what happened in Brighton (Japan beating South Africa) as well.

"They're well-coached by another Kiwi, Milton Haig, and we'll get plenty of physicality."

Hansen can afford to smile and watch as Pool A rivals Australia, England and Wales -- ranked two, three and four in the world -- battle it out for two quarter-final places from what Hansen and many others call the "pool of death".

But he said the All Blacks needed to stay tuned in for tougher tests ahead.

"If they're (Pool A teams) going to go the whole way, they're going to have to play some big games week after week after week," he said.

"There are disadvantages in that as well. So it's swings and roundabouts. We're fresher, but we have to make sure we're not underprepared."

Hansen said New Zealand's stern examination by Argentina, they trailed the Pumas until the 56th minute in front of more than 89,000 fans at Wembley, and Japan's sensational win over South Africa were great for the game.

"They want the Rugby World Cup to be a contest where everyone can come and look to be successful. I think Japan have opened the eyes of the rugby world.

"I think it's been a great weekend for the Rugby World Cup and World Rugby. They are the keepers of the game and they want more than just five, six, seven or eight teams in the world to be competitive."

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