McCaw stops the All Blacks 'little man' from appearing

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James Mortimer     02 Dec 2012     Getty Images

The opinions of others is something the All Blacks are very aware of, and coach Steve Hansen said that despite the recent plaudits being given to his side - with many rating this side as one of the greatest - the team were aware how quickly things could change.

Hansen said to the Telegraph in London that Hore's recent incident proved this.

"It’s always nice to get nice things said about you but we are a humble group," Hansen said.

"We know it takes one thing to change opinions about us. Take this week. We let ourselves down with Andrew Hore’s mistake and all of a sudden, people’s perception changes. We are just looking every week to do the best we can.”

The All Blacks are currently reaping the benefits of winning the Rugby World Cup, able to be measured as a great as they have hoisted the sport's greatest prize.

Before that they were coined as the 'best team outside World Cups', a tag that might have been a compliment, as the All Blacks boasted numerous Tri-Nations, Bledisloe Cups and touring Grand Slams - but winning the four yearly Holy Grail was always going to be the achievement that allowed this side to be rated amongst the pantheon.

Hansen compared this to Spain, who may have only won their maiden FIFA World Cup in 2010, but have had sustained success in winning back-to-back Euro crowns, the first football nation to win three major titles on the trot.

"International sports teams struggle to keep having great, great, great performances and Spain are probably the only one recently," Hansen said.

"Clearly, they are doing something that makes their players want to be great every time they play. That’s what we’re trying to do, be as good as we have been, if not better.

"It’s not so much that we’ve studied the Spanish team as studied the concept."

Hansen felt that perhaps the only thing that defeated some great teams was the 'little man', the voice that told us to relax and that we didn't need to keep pushing ourselves so hard.

The All Blacks coach said his captain countered this.

"That’s where Richie McCaw is really good for us," he said.

"He controls that ‘little man’. He answers ‘I’ve got to prepare bone deep every time’. That’s why he’s so consistent."

As for whether or not these All Blacks are actually the best of all time, Hansen said he was unsure, recalling his own memories of watching the mighty 1967 All Blacks.

"I don’t know if we’re better than some other All Blacks teams," he said.

"There’s been some great ones (but) I really do think we can get better."