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'We know they will be tough': All Blacks coach on drawing Springboks at Rugby World Cup

Steve Hansen expects South Africa and Italy to provide stern tests, but was “okay” with the draw.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen

STEVE HANSEN REACTED to New Zealand being drawn against South Africa at the 2019 Rugby World Cup by stating “if you’re going to win the thing you’ve got to play all the good teams”.

The All Blacks on Wednesday discovered they will come up against the Springboks, Italy and two qualifiers at the showpiece event in Japan in two years’ time.

New Zealand beat South Africa 20-18 at the semi-final stage of the last World Cup in England, before going on to retain the Webb Ellis Cup with a win over Australia.

Hansen is braced for a tough Pool B, but knows his defending champions will have to beat the best teams on the planet if they are to win the tournament for a third time in succession.

“It was always going to be what it’s going to be. We’ve drawn a pool that’s got some strength in it, that’s okay. We know South Africa well, we know they will be tough,” said the All Blacks’ head coach.

“Italy are an improving side and we don’t know yet who the qualifiers are going to be. We can assume they will be good sides if they’re going to make it, so it is what it is.”

Hansen can also see why a Pool C which includes England, France and Argentina has already been billed as the group of death.

“There are some very tough pools, Pool C is also very tough and eventually if you’re going to win the thing you’ve got to play all the good teams, so we are happy now.”

“We’ve just got to find out where the games are going to be played, so we can get our planning set.”

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