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Hansen: Preparation is the key

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Sportal.co.nz     14 Oct 2011     Getty Images

Game plan clarity was central to that, he said in Auckland on Thursday.

"Once you've got clarity, then you can have intensity and a purpose about what you do. That gives you accuracy as well. So if we can get those things tidied up then we get on the track on Sunday night and it is going to be all on," he said.

And in spite of the upheavals caused by the losses of experienced players such as five-eighths Dan Carter and fullback Mils Muliaina earlier in the tournament, Hansen said it was time for the players to stand tall.

"You can't afford them not to be world-class," he said.

The pressure was mounting and everyone was feeling that, Hansen said. But what was crucial was how players reacted to it.

"We're really excited and looking forward to the challenge of the semi-final. It doesn't get any bigger. As long as you can walk towards the pressure you are in control of it, it is not in control of you," he said.

"And we've got a group of players that are really excited about what is coming up."

Much of the early part of Thursday's press conference centred around Crusaders flanker Matt Todd's role at All Blacks' training on Tuesday, but Hansen said it was merely part of the side's use of players in training as they were available.

"I'm not worried how other teams look at it, it's for us. All tournament we have used opposition at training. If you've got wider training group people available, it is just common sense to use those people," he said of Todd's involvement at training.
Hansen said the quarter-final victory against Argentina on Sunday had been a tough because the Pumas were outstanding defensively, getting numbers to the breakdown.

The two Tri Nations Tests between New Zealand and Australia this year have been complete contrasts, with the home teams gaining the better starts and going on to win.

"Some of that, I think, is attitude. I don't think either side will lack attitude on Sunday night," Hansen said.

"Doing things well right throughout the 80 minutes will be important and taking the opportunities that come when they come will be doubly important."

Hansen was hopeful the refereeing of the breakdown would be mindful of the laws in relation to players leaving their feet and letting the ball go after the referee had declared ruck. He said that had not always happened in Australia's win over South Africa on Sunday.

"If the laws were adhered to it would be great for the game," he said.