"Perfect" season has no bearing

Date published: November 4 2013

The All Blacks remain unfazed by the prospect of recording the first “perfect season” in the professional era, says coach Steve Hansen.

The All Blacks remain unfazed by the prospect of recording the first “perfect season” in the professional era, says coach Steve Hansen.

New Zealand's 2013 winning record sits at 11 from 11 after the 54-6 triumph over Japan in Tokyo on Saturday.

Now, the Kiwis must overcome France in Paris this Saturday, before traveling to face England and Ireland at Twickenham and the Aviva Stadium respectively on November 16th and 24th.

The All Blacks last came close to achieving the record in 1997, when under John Hart, they won 11 games and drew one. Alongside England, they have also suffered a solitary defeat in four other seasons, while South Africa and France have reached that level once.

But coach Steve Hansen shrugged off any suggestions his side are focusing on the milestone.

“It's something that's in the background, it's for other people to talk about,” Hansen said.

“We know we've got the players and the talent within the group to be really hard to beat. If someone beats us then they've played well and we have to accept that.”

With reference to the Twickenham tanking dished out by England (38-21) a year ago, the coach insisted the Blacks are keeping their feet on the ground, and that they would have to adjust quickly from their Tokyo clash to tackle the French.

“I don't think it will take too much of a mental shift. Everyone's aware of what's coming and the group's pretty excited about that,” said Hansen.

“There's three opponents left in the season and all three of them bring different challenges. We've got an aim for every player, older or younger, to be better at the end of the tour than they were at the start of it.”

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