All Blacks coach Steve Hansen say the challenge of becoming the first team to win back-to-back Rugby World Cups should ensure his world No.
1 team stays hungry next year.
The All Blacks completed another dominant season in 2014 only losing one match, by two points, away to the South Africa after having already wrapped up a third successive Rugby Championship.
And Hansen, speaking after his team produced a second-half five-try fest to see off Wales 34-16 in Cardiff, took time to look ahead to next year’s World Cup title defence.
“No one’s won back-to-back World Cups so we shouldn’t even be the favourites, but we will be because we’re the No.1 side in the world,” said Hansen.
“If you’re a betting man you wouldn’t punt on us because it’s not happened. But it’s a great challenge because it has to happen one day so why not us? So that’s our challenge, and that’s massive because no one else’s done it.
“And that’s great because to win the World Cup you’ve got to be hungry, and maybe in the past we haven’t been hungry enough.”
He was alluding to the shock World Cup quarter-final defeat by France seven years ago.
“In 2007, we should have won it but we weren’t the right dog because we didn’t turn up with the right attitude. The reality is that we came expecting to win it.
“You have to go out and earn the right to win it.
“Everybody who rocks up at the World Cup, they’ll have their formula, they’ll use the luck you get because everyone gets luck, good and bad, it’s about how you use it, then anyone can win this World Cup.
“It’s been proven time and time again, you don’t have to be the top dog to win, just the right dog.”
Rather worringly for potential opponents, Hansen added: “We go into next year knowing that we have 45-50 players who, if all fit, are capable of giving us a really good nucleus of 31 players.
“The reality is we’ll have to improve our game again next year to have any chance to make the quarter-finals.”