Rugby

Hansen Starts Mind Games With Schmidt Ahead Of Quarter-Final

Hansen Starts Mind Games With Schmidt Ahead Of Quarter-Final

Steve Hansen says Joe Schmidt's tendency to prepare for games with meticulous detail may be exploitable in their World Cup quarter-final against Ireland.

"We have got weaknesses like everybody else," said the New Zealand head coach.

"You know Joe does a lot of study, so that can be a strength and a weakness. We might be able to set him up.

"They're a quality side, they've been number one this year. Our last three results against them are loss, win, loss. So, there won't be any complacency in our camp. It's a do or die game for both teams.

"They play to their strengths: Conor Murray does a lot of kicking and they use Sexton to drive them around the park and their big forwards to carry. Why would they want to change? It's been very successful for them.

"I think they're better than just a one-man team. But your ten in very important.

"I think they've brought out the best in us for a long, long time. I don't know how many games we've played but we enjoy playing them and that doesn't change because they've beaten us a couple of times."

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Due to their game against Italy being cancelled, the All Blacks will have had 13 days without a match when they play Ireland.

"Having a week off is not a bad thing," said Hansen.

"We're quite excited by that fact. It's allowed us to work really hard on Friday. GPS numbers were equivalent or just above what a normal test match would be.

"We don't feel like we've lost any opportunity to get ourselves where we need to be. The exciting part is we had Saturday locked up in the hotel because we couldn't do anything because of the storm."

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