All Blacks on the eve of destiny

By Jamie Wall

All Black coach Steve Hansen, Jack Goodhue and Brad Weber

The All Blacks are only 24 hours away from finally starting their Rugby World Cup campaign, and coach Steve Hansen has more or less admitted that there is nothing further to do other than wait for kick off against the Springboks.

“We’ve had a really good week, just a matter of counting down the time” he told a large crowd of international media at Yokohama International Stadium today.

“I’m as confident as you can be. We’ve got the talent to get the job done, but with knockout rugby you can have one bad day and that’s it.”

Hansen was quizzed on the selection of Richie Mo’unga at first five, but remained steadfastly committed to the Crusaders number 10.

“We wouldn’t be picking him if we thought he wasn’t ready. He’s got all the attributes to be a wonderful player….he’s following in the footsteps of some greats and he’s playing alongside one of them” Hansen said, referring to Beauden Barrett.

“There’s always been a history of two playmakers in New Zealand rugby. It’s only been lately with the likes of Ma’a Nonu and Sonny Bill [Williams] that are more centres than second five eighths.”

Meanwhile, centre Jack Goodhue gave an update on the hamstring injury that has seen him miss the opening match.

“It’s progressing well, I’m running well but there’s a few little things like extending it a little bit. I’m confident I’ll be available for the next game.”

While there’s always plenty of talk about what the players get up to before a big game, but this time it was the coach that got asked. Hansen, ever the dry comedian, was on form when he answered:

“I switch my brain off, which isn’t hard.”

Kickoff is 9:45pm NZT from Yokohama.