Steve Hansen dismissed as “baloney” suggestions that New Zealand have gained a psychological advantage over England ahead of the RWC.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen dismissed as “baloney” suggestions his side has gained any sort of psychological advantage by beating England 24-21 at Twickenham on Saturday.
Some pundits had billed the match as a potential dress rehearsal for next year’s World Cup Final, which will take place at Twickenham.
But while the All Blacks may be the reigning world champions, they have never lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy on foreign soil.
And the memory of their shock 2007 quarter-final loss to France in Cardiff in particular meant Hansen was taking nothing for granted.
“A lot of people have been talking about the psychological advantage of winning today (Saturday),” said Hansen.
“There’s a lot of us think that’s a load of baloney. There’s no psychological advantage if we don’t make it to the next stage to play England.”
“There are some great rugby teams that are going to go to the World Cup. The World Cup’s not about one team, it’s about five or six.
“The All Blacks have shown many times you can be top dog and not get there. So if you haven’t got your ducks in a row when the time comes, you don’t make it.
“There’s no psychological advantage because World Cups have shown time and time again that prior history goes out the door.
“We beat France numerous times by a lot of points and we lost to them in 2007. We are not even assuming we are going to play England. We’ve got a round-robin and we hope we qualify first or second.”
Hansen criticised the persistent replays on the video screen at Twickenham, which he believed were trying to influence the referee.
Hansen was not impressed by the replays of the second-half incident which led to the yellow card for All Blacks hooker Dane Coles, and New Zealand’s final try for prop Charlie Faumuina. After both actions were repeatedly shown on the stadium screen, booing by English fans seemed to prompt referee Nigel Owens to go to the Television Match Official for advice.
After Coles was pulled to the ground by opposite Dylan Hartley, the New Zealander lashed out with his foot and struck England captain Chris Robshaw in the leg. TMO Simon McDowell viewed replays and recommended a penalty against Coles but not a yellow card. But, with Robshaw and the crowd protesting, Owens demanded more replays, then carded Coles.
Later, the crowd’s vehemence at Faumuina’s try made Owens doubt his try decision and seek a replay while the conversion was being lined up. It took only one view by the TMO to confirm the try was legitimate.
“My biggest concern is not TMOs or referees – my biggest concern is that TV producers are starting to have an influence on the game,” said Hansen.
“We don’t need a TV producer to replay something 100 times – that’s not in the character or the spirit of the game.
“Referees will make mistakes, just like players will make mistakes, and some of those mistakes will cost you the game, but you’ve got to live with that because some day you’ll get the rub of the green and the mistakes you made will let you win it.
“But TV producers, they are starting to annoy me somewhat.”
Looking ahead to August’s cut-off date for World Cup squads, Hansen said: “If all of our guys are fit, we are going to leave some good players out.
“That doesn’t mean we can rock over here and win the World Cup.
“South Africa will do the same thing, Australia are improving all the time and England have got plenty of depth.”
England, with Jonny May opening the scoring in just the fourth minute with his maiden Test try – a score Hansen labelled “soft” after the wing beat Conrad Smith and Israel Dagg – led 14-11 at half-time.
But New Zealand hit back with second-half tries from captain Richie McCaw and replacement forward Charlie Faumuina before England’s late penalty try narrowed the final score.
Despite being a man down for 10 minutes when hooker Dane Coles was sin-binned in the 57th minute, the vastly more experienced All Blacks out-scored 2015 World Cup hosts England 3-0 in that period.
“It’s got nothing to do with caps, it’s got to do with the people wearing the respective jerseys,” said Hansen.
The result meant England had suffered their fifth successive defeat by the All Blacks.