VIDEO: World Cup pain will fuel All Blacks
WORLD CUP REACTION: Outgoing New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said the pain his team had suffered at the World Cup would make them a “little bit more dangerous” after they ended the tournament with a 40-17 win over Wales in the third-place play-off in Tokyo on Friday.
Hansen had hoped to bow out by leading the All Blacks to an unprecedented third successive global title and fourth in total.
But last week’s stunning 7-19 defeat to England, who play South Africa in the Final, put paid to that goal.
“I guess our challenge now is to regroup and reset the goals for the next four years,” said Hansen.
“What I do know is that the young men who are going to come back have a personal pain. They’ve experienced something you can’t tell them about, you can’t convince them about until it’s personal to themselves.
“It’s now personal, so that will make them a little bit more dangerous.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s Final in Yokohama, Hansen said: “We’ll have a new World Cup champion and whoever it is will have to be commended for their efforts because it’s a very hard tournament to win.
“For a long time we can take a lot of pride in what we’ve done because we’ve asked teams to get better because they want to beat us.
“England have done that, South Africa have done it on occasions and both of those teams are in the Final.
“Now it’s up to them, isn’t it? We are chasing them and I know, with my time finishing the All Blacks will continue to strive to be better.”
‘Have a few drinks’
New Zealand outscored Wales six tries to two but Hansen lauded Wales for “coming to play”, saying the approach of both teams would help attract new fans to rugby union.
He also praised the All Blacks for the “real character and commitment to the jersey” amid “external talk” about them not wanting to play in this match.
The game marked New Zealand captain Kieran Read’s 127th and last Test before international retirement, with Hansen saying of the No.8, who is set to join him at Japanese club Toyota: “Reado led really, really well this week. He is a great leader, but this week he needs to take a bow because he was hurting probably more than most.
“But he knew that he had to put his own personal feelings aside and knew that the team had to get up.”
Both Hansen, who won 93 out of 107 Tests as New Zealand head coach, with four draws and just 10 defeats, and Read said they would take time to reflect in the coming days.
“I’ll find a nice quiet place at home sit down and have a few drinks with Tash [wife Natasha] and have a few laughs and ‘salut’ a few times and probably get drunk,” said Hansen.
“Stop there Steve,” interjected Read only for Hansen to say: “See Kieran is only 30-odd, I’m 60 and what he is thinking about doesn’t happen that often – not as much as I’d like anyway.”