Hansen: They want to rip our heads off

Date published: October 23 2015

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New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has told his team that the Springboks want to 'rip their heads off' in Saturday's World Cup semi-final, despite the praise showered on the All Blacks in the build-up.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has lavished the All Blacks with praise this week, saying that his side will need their "best performance ever" if they are to beat "the best team to have played the game".

While appreciative of Meyer's compliments, Hansen has warned his players that there will be no niceties exchanged when play gets underway at Twickenham.

"He's just about killed us with compliments," said Hansen. "He's a cunning wee devil is Heyneke."

He added: "He has been praising us all week and, whilst I know he means some of it, I know they are getting ready to rip our heads off.

"We need to be in that same state. If we get caught up in all that and lapping up all the praise we won't be in the right mental state to play.

"Heyneke has praised us this week and that's a tactic. Behind closed doors I don't think he'll be doing that. You can see that with the comment that comes out of the young lock. He said they don't fear us and they respect us but it's not very much."

The All Blacks were in devastating form when they thrashed France 62-13 in the quarter-finals last weekend, and Hansen has called for his troops to once again deliver their best as their is no room for complacency.

"It's a stupid man that doesn't fear the guy you're fighting," Hansen said.

"That fear heightens everything. It makes sure all the emotions are in the right place so you can actually deliver the performance you need to.

"Whilst you might respect something once you go over the white line it's about getting the job done.

"If we don't turn up with our A game we're not going to have a chance. We've got to turn up with a bit more."

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