Hansen untroubled by lack of respect
August 3, 2011
Hansen's side are looking to defend an impressive run at Auckland's Eden Park © Getty Images
All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen doesn't think the Wallabies respect his side but insists his players require no further motivation ahead of their Tri-Nations showdown with their old rivals in Auckland on Saturday.
Australia took the spoils in the last meeting between the sides to snap a 10-game losing streak at the hands of their Bledisloe Cup foes and Hansen believes that success and subsequent Super Rugby glory for the Queensland-based Reds will ensure the Wallabies enter this latest clash full of confidence.
Hansen said Wales had been in awe of the All Blacks when he coached them, and though that was probably gone, the Wallabies were even less intimidated. "The Australians aren't in awe of us, they probably don't even respect us," he told media this morning. "You've only got to read what they've got to say."
However, he said this perceived lack of respect - which came on top of some sledging by the Australians straight after the Hong Kong loss - would not serve as any sort of motivation for the All Blacks. "We have our own motivation, we don't need someone else to motivate us. The black jersey motivates our players, it has for centuries and will probably continue to, it's such an important jersey."
An Australian victory on Saturday would be the first over the All Blacks at Eden Park since 1986, and though Hansen said the team's record at every ground was important, they were very keen to keep the streak going at a venue where most of the World Cup knockout matches are being played.
"Auckland's obviously the home here in New Zealand where most of the big games are played because of the size of the venue, so the importance of those matches are usually right up there, and wanting it to stay tight and a fortress for want of a better term is pretty important," he said.
"That's where they're going to play the World Cup final and we want to be in it and of course we want to win it, so it's important."
The Tri-Nations match doubles as a Bledisloe Cup match, and a victory on Saturday would ensure the All Blacks would retain it for another year. Hansen said the team discussed the trophy's history last night to remind them of how important it was.
"We do it every year, there's some little talk just to remind each other what the history of the Bledisloe Cup's all about. It's something that's pretty hard to win when you lose it and we don't want to lose it, we want to keep hold of it, and this year's no different," he said.
"It's got history, there's no doubt about that. This team's built on history, it's built on a legacy, and it's just like family -- you talk about things that happened in the past and where you'd like to go in the future. That's all we do too."
Hansen said most of the team had got through training well yesterday, with the biggest concern being the cheek injury suffered by prop John Afoa at the weekend. "He'll see the surgeon today and they'll find out whether they're going to put a plate in it, whether they're going to leave it as it is. It could be two to three weeks or it could be six weeks."
The All Blacks team for Saturday's test will be named tomorrow.
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