Steve Hansen was reluctant to elaborate on what has been described as an "epic" and "old school" halftime tune-up of his players during their victory over Namibia.

Several of his players, including hooker Dane Coles, revealed the extent of the team talk after the 71-9 victory which they all recognised as appropriate afterwards. The No1-ranked side in the world led only 24-9 at halftime and after half an hour the score was only 10-9 to the All Blacks.

Namibia are the lowest-ranked nation of the 20 teams at the World Cup and while they played well in the first half, the All Blacks' attitude at the breakdown in particular wasn't seen as acceptable to the coaching staff.

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Hansen was, however, happy to reveal the one player who never had an attitude problem: former skipper Richie McCaw, a double World Cup winner who played 148 tests and a similar number of matches for the Crusaders who never played at anything less than 100 per cent.


"I've only met or been associated with one player who could do it week in, week out, regardless of who we were playing and that was Richie McCaw," Hansen said.

Former All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw was the only player never to have an off-day, says Steve Hansen. Photo / Photosport
Former All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw was the only player never to have an off-day, says Steve Hansen. Photo / Photosport

"He never really had a bad game. He never had an off day. But in the end it's probably one of the reasons why he retired because it takes a lot of effort; emotional effort and mental effort.

"Namibia pointed a few things out to us in the first half, so we rectified it. Against really good opposition I don't think you'd have that same problem because subconsciously your mind doesn't allow you to go there."

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Asked whether the players might fall into a similar trap against Italy on Saturday a week before his team's quarter-final, Hansen replied with one of his more memorable analogies.

"Are you married?" he asked.

"Yes," was the reply.

"There will be things that you aggravate your wife with. When she tunes you up you probably become really good at it for a while and then after a while you slip back into the old habits and get a tune up again. Is that what happens?"

"You got it mate," was the answer.


"It's no different to any marriage," Hansen continued. "When we get comfortable we allow things to slip, I suppose."