Brodie Retallick All Blacks v England: No time for mind games, says Steve Hansen, it’s World Cup time

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Brodie Retallick All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says he and Eddie Jones know each other too well to go back and forth.

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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says he and Eddie Jones know each other too well to go back and forth.

Steve Hansen smiled nicely at Eddie Jones’ assessment of the All Blacks as the greatest team in sport, but elected not to return serve with a slanted comment of his own. There’s no point jumping into the mind games, he says, in a week where the stakes ramp things up all they need to.

It was a noticeably relaxed Hansen who spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon at the team hotel in Tokyo’s Shiodome commercial district. Business-like too. His team had just been through their first training hitout of the week in the wet and he was happy about how things were building, even if skipper Kieran Read did sit out the session with some calf tightness.

With a healthy UK media presence at the session the subject soon turned to Jones and the mind games that go on ahead of a big test match like Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semifinal against England in Yokohama. But Hansen stayed largely away from entering into a back and forth with the voluble Aussie he counts as a close coaching friend and instead preferred to take aim at the Six Nations’ entrenched attitudes around the global game.

That came when he was asked a question about where he saw the All Blacks’ rivalry with England – a side they have beaten 15 of the last 16 times they have played.

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* RWC results and pool standings
* RWC results and pool standings

“South Africa is always going to be our biggest rival because of all the history that comes with it,” said Hansen. “We’ve played England once the last [five] years so it

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