Steve Hansen says beating South Africa on Saturday would be a tonic for New Zealand but he does not anticipate the outcome having any bearing on their Rugby World Cup showdown in September.
The All Blacks started the defence of their Rugby Championship title with a narrow victory over Argentina last weekend, while the Springboks were too good for Australia.
Both victories were secured with understrength sides but rested players are set to return for a showdown at Westpac Stadium, where South Africa triumphed 36-34 in last year’s competition.
New Zealand head coach Hansen is relishing the encounter in Wellington but says it will not have an impact on their World Cup Pool B blockbuster in Yokohama on September 21.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) July 23, 2019
“The tradition is really important. We enjoy their company, we think a lot of them, we respect them very much,” said Hansen.
“We love the way they play and we love the challenge they bring to us. From that point of view, it is a really important encounter. It’s the next one so it’s obviously really, really important.
“In the big scheme of this year does the result matter? I guess it gives whoever wins it a little bit of confidence going into the World Cup. It won’t mean whoever wins this one will automatically win the one in the World Cup.
“Even then whoever wins that game doesn’t mean the other team is knocked out of the World Cup either because it is the round-robin stage and you’d expect both teams to go through and qualify.
“In the big scheme it gives everybody an opportunity to have a look at each other and feel each other out but I don’t think it’s going to affect the World Cup.”
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