Sportal.co.nz 15.Sep.2012Getty Images
"We loved it," the All Blacks' coach said. Rugby was pretty important in our house. We grew up on it. Tests between the All Blacks and Springboks were the ultimate."
And, for the All Blacks coach, nothing has changed.
"It's the way it has been all my life and it's still the same. They will always be the traditional foe. Australia is more like your big brother and you always want to beat your big brother. But the Springboks were and still are the ultimate."
Hansen said the stormy rugby history between the countries made the rivalry fiercer.
"You've only got to remember what happened to the country in the 1980s when we had the tour by the Boks. It was pretty ugly at the time but it was a revolutionary step in the progress of this country.
"It split families but in the end it was rugby which helped South Africa to get what they needed - equality.
"It's a fascinating country with a fascinating history and rugby has been a big part of that."
And Hansen said nothing had changed about the Springbok side the All Blacks would play in Dunedin on Saturday night.
"They're a big, physical side. We've got to match their physicality, passion and desperation. If we go in half-cock, we could find ourselves on the back foot."
Hansen said it was special to play Tests in New Zealand and the All Blacks wanted to sign off in style in their last home Test of the year.
"We're always looking to get better and this is our last opportunity in New Zealand this year."
Hansen said it was too harsh to blame the backline for the comparatively few tries scored by the All Blacks' backs this year.
"The backline has scored more set-piece tries than most other backlines playing rugby at the moment.
"The issue is our phase play, our broken play and we just haven't made good decisions. We have created about 19 line-breaks so we're doing that part of the game well. We're just not finishing off.
"Some of that is because we're too lateral, some of it is because we're making poor decisions. It's an area of our game we have to improve."
A southerly change with rain is expected in Dunedin but that will have no effect on conditions in the covered stadium which will be crammed to its capacity of more than 29,000.