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All Blacks downplay quarterfinal thrashing of France

Monday 19 October 2015 | Published in Regional


CARDIFF – Steve Hansen has warned his side that their 62-13 victory over France has earned the All Blacks nothing more than the right to go training on Monday.

The New Zealand coach was happy to lavish praise on the world champions after watching them run in nine tries in a one-sided quarter-final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

But with the countdown to next weekend’s first semi-final against South Africa already under way, Hansen was quick to temper his team’s celebrations.

“It was a pretty special performance, but all we have done is earn the right to go training on Monday,” he said.

“We haven’t won the thing, so we can’t get too excited. That would be pointless.

“We have played South Africa a lot of times and they are great rivals and we are good mates with them. It’s going to be one hell of a contest.”

In producing the biggest margin of victory ever in a Rugby World Cup knockout match, the tournament favourites were not only clinical with ball in hand, but succeeded in destablising Philippe Saint-Andre’s side with a defensive effort that bordered on perfection.

It might have taken some time in coming, but after four modest performances in reaching the last eight, the world champions finally hit their straps.

“As I said earlier in the week, there is a difference between pool play and knockout play and obviously knockout rugby creates an edge in itself,” Hansen said.”If you don’t turn up, you go home.

“Tonight we turned up and attitude plays a massive part in any sporting event. When you couple attitude with talent, you can do certain things.”

It was an All Blacks performance of genuine quality and though the Springboks will provide a more stern examination, at Twickenham on Saturday, it would take a brave man to bet against the All Blacks from reaching a second successive final.

Australia came from behind to beat Scotland 35-34 in their quarter-final and to ensure the Cup will have four southern hemisphere semi-finalists for the first time.