Sun, Apr 13, 2014 - Page 20 News List

All Blacks seek secret of defending World Cup

AP, WELLINGTON

Head coach Steve Hansen says the All Blacks are determined to figure out why no team has defended rugby’s World Cup before they put their title on the line at next year’s tournament in Britain.

Hansen told reporters on Friday the New Zealand coaching staff and management are working hard to understand why none of the teams that has won the Webb Ellis Trophy at the past seven World Cups has managed to retain it at a subsequent tournament.

The selection and preparation of the All Blacks team would then be geared to ensuring they did not fall into traps that had captured previous champions and other New Zealand sides, Hansen said. New Zealand arer first determined to ensure they retain the form and sense of purpose that allowed them to win the Cup in 2011.

“There are a few inconvenient facts around the Rugby World Cup in that nobody has won two in a row, so we are having a good look at the reasons why that is and what we can do to possibly change that and start implementing some of those things now,” Hansen said. “When you are a team that’s been at the top for a long time, you don’t have the mental attitude quite right and there is an expectation that ‘we will go and do this.’ I think New Zealand’s fallen into that trap at previous World Cups.”

New Zealand became the first team in the professional era to go unbeaten through an international season when they won all 14 of their Test matches last year.

Hansen said the challenge for the All Blacks coaches was to ensure that did not lead to any complacency or slackening of effort heading into the World Cup.

“When you’ve had success, sometimes it’s hard for certain people to replicate the sacrifices needed to go and do that,” he said.

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