Thursday 19 April 2018

Hansen warns New Zealand not to get carried away

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has warned his team to forget last Saturday night's near-perfect display against France in order to regain the high against South Africa.

Hansen made one change to the team that trounced France last Saturday night for tomorrow's semi-final at Twickenham, bringing loosehead prop Joe Moody in for the injured Wyatt Crockett.

The All Blacks ran in nine tries in a rampant performance in Cardiff as they obliterated France, but Ireland have shown the danger of peaking too soon at this tournament already.

"I think the hardest thing about this week's preparation is coming off the back of such a great win because externally everybody has got a little bit carried away with themselves and have made some outrageous statements," Hansen said.

"And internally there's an emotional high that comes with playing like that. It's really important to get a full-stop early, but you've got to enjoy that moment and you can't hide from it.

"But you've got to put a full-stop on it otherwise you don't go great to great, you go great to struggling.

"And we think we've done that. We believe we've done that and if we get that right then we'll go out and have another great performance, whether that's good enough to beat South Africa we'll have to wait and see. But it's going to require another top performance."

Hansen is not buying his opposite number Heyneke Meyer's charm offensive this week after the Springbok coach lauded the world champions.

"He's a cunning wee devil, he's been praising us all week," he said. "He means some of it, at the same time, I know they're getting ready to rip our heads off. And we need to be in that same state."

New Zealand (v South Africa) - B Smith; N Milner-Skudder, C Smith, M Nonu, J Savea; D Carter, A Smith; J Moody, D Coles, O Franks; B Retallick, S Whitelock; J Kaino, R McCaw (capt), K Read. Reps: K Mealamu, B Franks, C Faumuina, V Vito, S Cane, T Kerr-Barlow, B Barrett, SB Williams.

Irish Independent

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