Head coach Steve Hansen suggested New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup pedigree was key as they thrashed Ireland 46-14 to reach the semi-finals in Japan.
The All Blacks came into Saturday’s contest having lost two of their previous three fixtures against Ireland, including a 16-9 defeat in Dublin when the sides last met in November 2018.
However, the two-time defending world champions were emphatic winners on this occasion, running in seven tries to underline their status as tournament favourites ahead of a last-four meeting with England.
Ireland have never made it past the quarter-finals of a World Cup, which proved significant in Hansen’s eyes.
“Experience is a funny thing, isn’t it? What is it that you’ve experienced? That’s the key,” he said.
“Our young guys, a lot of them have been involved in championship-winning teams in Super Rugby, in big moments, and that’s why you can select them with confidence. And they’ve played well in Test matches that we’ve selected them in.
“It was interesting, everyone was talking about how many [experienced players] Ireland had. Half of our 23 had played in a knockout tournament and won it, and that was the difference wasn’t it?
“I’m not being disrespectful here in saying this, but Ireland’s experience was not to win and we had 11 guys that actually had experience of winning.
“That’s why you’ve got to be careful when you start talking about experience because sometimes just because you’ve played for a long time, you might have learned a lot of things that you don’t want to learn or you may have learned nothing along the way.
“I was a bit like that when I played – I didn’t learn much.”
This is what rugby is all about.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 19, 2019
Asked if New Zealand had performed better with “a monkey on their back”, Hansen replied: “I don’t know if you can call it a monkey but we got reminded and reminded and reminded and reminded that we had lost to Ireland.
“And All Black teams don’t need to be reminded that they’ve lost two games to Ireland, out of 38 [actually 32]. They know that and they don’t forget it.
“We remember our losses way more than we remember the wins. So it’s banked, it’s not something that you go and talk about, just everyone knows it.”
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