Hansen confident about his team

Date published: September 19 2015

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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen acknowledges that there has been a considerable amount to think about during the past week, but adds that nerves will not be a factor ahead of the opener against Argentina at Wembley on Sunday.

"This tournament has taken a while to arrive – four years – and probably the last week has felt like four years so a lot of training, a lot of planning. We've got a group of men who are really itching to get started," Hansen told the New Zealand Herald.

In his 47 matches as the All Blacks coach, Hansen has lost just three times. Expectations ahead of this year's tournament are exceedingly high and the critical factor will be to manage those expectations, and to execute their plans with aplomb when the situation demands it.

"The older guys and the leaders, they've been there before and done it," said Hansen, who has been blessed with a wealth of experience during his tenure at the helm of the All Blacks.

"But the calmness and clear-headedness to get the process of what we did in the last couple of minutes [in Dublin and Brisbane] is massive and, for a young player to come through that and realise if I do stay calm and concentrate on what I have to do right here and right now rather than worrying about what's on the scoreboard, then anything's achievable," explained the All Blacks coach.

"I think we've created an environment within the group that allows us to play good rugby, to win some games comfortably and win some other games not so comfortably. Thinking back to Ireland, that was a tough, tough game and it showed we had the mental strength to get the job done.

"And of course we're capable of losing, too, because we've done that three times as well. You can chuck a couple of draws in as well. This team has got a lot of talent and a lot of self-belief."

"It now just needs to have the hunger and desire and work ethic and to use the luck we get. We'll get our fair share of luck and we'll get our share of bad luck. It's how we use that luck and deal with the bad luck which will determine how far we go in this tournament. But I'm confident what we've done in the past four years has put us in pretty good shape."

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