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Pressure doesn't ease for All Blacks

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Lynn McConnell     02 Oct 2018     Getty Images

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said after the side's arrival in Johannesburg on Monday that while the Championship was secured there was still the continuing pressure on the All Blacks to win. South Africa was looking to secure a psychological boost by claiming another win before next year's Rugby World Cup but Hansen said the pressure to succeed was no different to what it always was.

"Life for the All Blacks doesn't look like that, it's not about anything other than having to win. Expectations are that we win every Test match and if we win them we've got to win them well so nothing will change for us. We've got to prepare well and make sure we hit the track on Saturday in a frame of mind that allows us to present ourselves as best we can," he said.

Hansen said it was important whenever the All Blacks were faced with the prospect not to lose twice in a row. But answering questions from South African reporters he said needing to avoid losing twice had nothing to do with next year's Rugby World Cup. It was more to do with the tradition and rivalry between the two countries.

"It is a strong one and one we enjoy and I'm sure they do too. They're 1-0 up this year and it's about making sure we can put in a performance we can be proud of," he said.

Pressed further on the magnitude of the game and whether it was the most pressure the All Blacks had been under to win for a long time, Hansen reiterated the pressure on the side constantly to win.

He told the South African media that it was interesting because they had been writing the Springboks off before their win in Wellington, and now they were writing off the All Blacks, which was quite good so far as the All Blacks were concerned.

The South African win over Australia at the weekend had been a physical game, he said, and the Springboks had taken every opportunity that came their way.

"They've obviously got a lot of confidence out of the win in Wellington and it's showing on the park," he said.

Hansen answered a query about the Championship having proved more competitive than many thought it would be by saying he always thought it would be competitive.

While the All Blacks had been successful in winning the prize again, the players still knew how tough it was to achieve that.

"There's fine margins sometimes and we've been on the right side of those fine margins," he said.