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Hansen on 2019 World Cup: 'I have to take the blame'

NEWS: Former All Black head coach Steve Hansen has opened up on the 2019 semifinal defeat to England which ended hopes of three consecutive World Cup titles.

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After getting through South Africa 23-13 in pool play and dispatching Ireland comfortably 46-14, the All Blacks were stunned by England 19-7 and held scoreless in the first half.

The head coach was on high alert after the Ireland win but says he didn’t “demand enough” of the side heading into the semi-final, calling the All Blacks “mentally soft”.

“I have to take the blame. We beat Ireland pretty convincingly in the quarterfinals,” Hansen told The Times.

“I earmarked that as a danger but we also had Kieran Read injured and I was trying to make sure we didn’t lose confidence if he was out.

“I wasn’t demanding enough. I didn’t push enough buttons and we went in a little soft mentally and England came in on fire.”

The All Blacks and England did not play during 2016 and 2017 when both sides were on top of the world in the rankings.

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They finally met at Twickenham in late 2018 which ended with a tight 19-18 win to the All Blacks after a late try to Sam Underhill was chalked off for an offside call.

After that tough encounter, the semifinal was always expected to be close but England were on top early and never let up.

Hansen believed he had the squad to win the title again but they were off on the day, which shows how hard it is to win the title.

“World Cups are the hardest things to win. We were good enough to win in 2007 and we were good enough to win in 2019, but we didn’t,” Hansen said.

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“And that’s the facts. That tells you how hard it is to win it.

“You have to survive three weeks in a row against really good opponents.

“You have a mental slip and are a few per cent down and the other team are 5 per cent above themselves, then you are gone.”

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