Pressure inevitable in World Cup semifinal - Hansen

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As the battle of wits winds up before the weekend's Rugby World Cup semifinal in Yokohama, Hansen said it was inevitable playing in the semifinal of a World Cup there would be pressure but the key thing was how it was managed.


"If you crack that nut you give yourself an opportunity to play, if you don't crack it you know you can go inwardly and get tight and miss the opportunities that are going to be there," he said.


"This week's different to last week.


"Last week we hadn't played so it's a matter of making sure that the tank that was full doesn't get emptied by getting too excited.


"This week you come off a game and your tank is empty and you don't get performances like England and we did against respective oppositions without emptying your tank.


"So then it's about being smart through the week and making sure that you rebuild and get clarity about your game and deal with the stuff you have to deal with then arrive on Saturday really humming," he said.


Hansen didn't think there was a lot of difference between England and New Zealand.


England could play a forward oriented game and could play an attacking game while they also had a good kicking game.


"We think we can match it with most forward packs if we have to, we've done it over the years. I don't think our forward pack gets the credit for that as much as it probably should because it is over-ridden by the other stuff they do and the other stuff we do as a team.


"Naturally we want to run with the ball, we've got a pretty good kicking game too. I think both teams are well equipped to play whatever game they want to play," he said.


England had taken their opportunities against Australia, even without a lot of possession.


The game wouldn't define either team but it would give one team the opportunity to go through and contest the final, he said.


"That's where everyone's concentration is, I just know there's a lot of respect between the two teams and two coaches," he said.



Hansen clarified captain Kieran Read's absence from training on Tuesday. He had a tight calf and was in the gym on an exercycle but did not take part in field training in wet conditions.


Flanker Matt Todd wouldn't be available as his shoulder was improving but not quickly enough to play at the weekend.


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