NZ-SA rivalry is still intense says All Blacks coach

The All Blacks may have been heaped misery on South Africa in their record 0-57 defeat at Albany on Saturday but coach Steve Hansen doesn’t believe the rivalry between the old foes has been diminished reports www.allblacks.com.

The All Blacks had achieved a mastery over the Springboks in recent years but he said the preparation of the players always lifted when they were set to play the South Africans.

“Our guys have got a massive respect for them as a rugby nation and that’s why we prepare so well. It’s an easy one to get up for,” Hansen said.

The performance had been a good one, but asked to rate it, he said there had been a lot of good ones, but it was ‘up there’.

However, exposure to South Africa in that type of atmosphere had advanced the Test experience of the younger players in the squad.

“We talked last week that we made seven changes and had a young side against Argentina and they had to battle their way through that game so they’re getting learnings then this group contained some of those young guys and you saw their performances go up another level.

“It’s a confidence thing. You get sportsmen and women who get confidence and play way better than those who don’t and sometimes they can play beyond their actual self-belief of talent and when you get that you can get some pretty outstanding performances,” he said.

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While he would like to see more of what was produced on Saturday night in the second half of the 2017 programme it would be tough because there were seven Test matches in nine weeks and 11 different time zones.

“How we manage that is going to be important. If we can keep our energy levels high and our desire to keep improving high that’s what we’ll do,” he said.

While the Springboks were bound to suffer criticism from their fans, they were a better side than the result, Hansen said.

“They just got us on a night where we clicked and when we click we are a hard team to contain so I think it will be much different when we get to Cape Town,” he said.

The All Blacks will take 28 players to both Argentina and South Africa, rather than their usual 26.

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