All Blacks coach says Australia can still win World Cup

International
by Emma Greenwood

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says the Wallabies can win the World Cup despite their 36-0 loss at Eden Park.

Hansen said complacency was the reason for his team being "toweled up" by the Wallabies in Perth last week and despite the magnitude of their Eden Park win, he still believed Australia to be a talented team.

"Both teams are very talented teams and both teams will go to the World Cup with big chances of winning it, I think," Hansen said.

But if his side can't lift the Webb Ellis Cup in Japan later this year, there's no team he'd rather see do it than Michael Cheika's Wallabies.

All Blacks winger Sevu Reece scores a try in the Kiwis' 36-0 win. Photo: Getty Images

Hansen made the comment to Fox Sports' Tim Horan after the commentator wished the All Blacks well in Japan.

“We’d like to wish Australia all the best too,” Hansen said.

“Whilst we have some fierce battles and so forth, we do enjoy them, they’re good men and they’re very similar to ourselves.

“So if we can’t win it we’d like them to.”

The Wallabies react to their loss after the final siren. Photo: Getty Images

While the sentiment seems questionable after Hansen's digs at Cheika over the years, the All Blacks were late to their press conference on Saturday night because, Hansen said, the Wallabies had taken so long to leave their dressing room after paying a post-match visit.

Hansen celebrated his 100th game as All Blacks coach on Saturday night and has managed to keep the Bledisloe Cup in Kiwi hands throughout his tenure.

"Outside of a World Cup, it's the most important trophy we have and we seem to have this thing in World Cup years that we come to that final (Bledisloe) game when we have to win it," he said.

"And it's just a nice feeling to be able to say, 'well, not on my watch'."

Hansen likened last week's loss to the Wallabies a "punch in the face" and knew his team would respond.

"If you get comfortable, you're going to get a punch in the nose," Hansen said.

"You've got to be comfortable being uncomfortable and unfortunately, sometimes when you're successful, that doesn't happen and eventually it catches up and it bites you.

"I was just really, really proud of the boys how they responded to last week."

But he said it only took a slight change to throw a team off, hence his belief Australia could not be written off despite Saturday's loss.

"We got toweled up last week and I'm not sure that any All Black team has enjoyed that experience - and this one certainly didn't," he said.

"So it was reasonably easy to see that they were in the house.

"What we couldn't see was where Australia were. It only takes a little bit of change and maybe they weren't in the same place they were a week ago."