RWC preview - New Zealand v South Africa: Steve Hansen hits out

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen

New Zealand boss Steve Hansen has accused South Africa counterpart Rassie Erasmus of trying to pressurise referees into preferential treatment towards the Springboks.

Back-to-back reigning world champions New Zealand will launch the defence of the Webb Ellis Cup by taking on South Africa in Yokohama on Saturday.

Springboks head coach Erasmus this week insisted New Zealand have for years received soft officiating as referees entered matches with the "preconceived idea" that the All Blacks would win.

A frustrated but as ever phlegmatic Hansen offered a withering assessment of Erasmus's comments, hoping that French official Jerome Garces will not be swayed by the Springbok influence.

"It's pretty obvious what they are trying to do; whilst I have a lot of respect for South Africa and Rassie, I don't agree with what he's doing," said Hansen. "He's trying to put pressure on the referees externally, and they are under enough pressure already. They don't need coaches to be doing what he's doing.

"It doesn't matter who is the ref, as a coach or as a team,,,,, you can always find things after a game that they didn't do and you can get emotional about it and think they are taking it out on you and not the opposition. We've done it ourselves. But at the end of the day, they go out to do the best they can do. Yes, they don't get it right all they time, and we've suffered from that. But it's just like other teams. It's a big game and we just need to let the referee get on with it."

Asked if he would hope the World Cup officials are strong-willed enough to ignore any such influence, Hansen added: "Well they are not stupid people at all, so you'd like to hope so. That's all I can say about that really."

Beauden Barrett will start at full-back for New Zealand's Pool B opener against the in-form Springboks. The 28-year-old slots into the 15 shirt to accommodate attacking playmaker Richie Mo'unga at fly-half, with stellar full-back Ben Smith taking a seat on the bench.

Listen to our Rugby World Cup podcast with World Cup winner Dorian West and England finalist Mark Cueto
Listen to our Rugby World Cup podcast with World Cup winner Dorian West and England finalist Mark Cueto

Ryan Crotty starts at inside centre with the back-to-back world champion All Blacks boasting three hugely-talented playmakers in their starting backline. Sonny Bill Williams takes a seat on the bench, with Anton Lienert-Brown partnering Crotty in the centres from the off.

Sevu Reece will make his World Cup debut on his fourth cap, with fellow wing George Bridge featuring in just his sixth Test match. Matt Todd has a sore shoulder, so Shannon Frizell steps up to take a seat on the bench.

Hansen backed star centre Williams to step off the bench and hand the All Blacks an extra dimension - just as he did in the 2015 final when New Zealand defeated Australia 34-17 to retain the crown they had lifted in 2011.

"Sonny hasn't played much over the last six weeks so he'll give us something different off the bench, he'll bring us something different," said Hansen. "It's a great opportunity that's similar to what he did in the final four years ago. I don't think we've got a number-one starting XV, we've got a group of 23 players we'll use depending on who we're playing.

"We'll chop and change, that was our point in selecting our 31. We wanted the ability to do different things with different people."

Tony Calvin has a strong fancy to top the tryscoring charts
Tony Calvin has a strong fancy to top the tryscoring charts

New Zealand team to face South Africa:

B Barrett (Blues), S Reece, A Lienert-Brown, R Crotty, G Bridge, R Mo'unga (all Crusaders), A Smith (Highlanders), J Moody (Crusaders), D Coles (Hurricanes), N Laulala, S Whitelock, S Barrett (all Crusaders), A Savea (Hurricanes), S Cane (Chiefs), K Read (Crusaders, capt).

Replacements: C Taylor (Crusaders), O Tuungafasi (Blues), A Ta'avao (Chiefs), P Tuipulotu (Blues), S Frizell (Highlanders), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), SB Williams (Blues), B Smith (Highlanders).


More Rugby World Cup content

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

Read our Champions League preview as Liverpool, Chelsea and Barcelona return to action1

Wednesday's Champions League tips

Best bets and stats for Wednesday's Champions League group stage action, including Liverpool and Chelsea's clashes.

Check out the latest daily racing preview2

Wednesday's racing preview

Lady Bowthorpe can regain the winning thread in the AR Legal Fillies' Handicap at Newmarket, according to Anita Chambers.

Enable and Frankie Dettori celebrate3

Mike Cattermole: Moore not merrier

Our columnist reflects on QIPCO British Champions Day, Ryan Moore's dash to Australia and a future dilemma awaiting John Gosden.

Sporting Life's NAP of the day4

Daily Nap: Star to shine

Dave Ord is siding with a Donald McCain-trained handicap hurdler at Carlisle for the Sporting Life Daily Nap on Thursday.

Paul Nicholls with Clan Des Obeaux and Frodon5

Paul Nicholls: Stable Tour

Paul Nicholls gives us the latest on star names such as Cyrname, Frodon and Clan Des Obeaux ahead of the National Hunt season while going through the rest of the team.

Most Read

Read our Champions League preview as Liverpool, Chelsea and Barcelona return to action1

Wednesday's Champions League tips

Best bets and stats for Wednesday's Champions League group stage action, including Liverpool and Chelsea's clashes.

Check out the latest daily racing preview2

Wednesday's racing preview

Lady Bowthorpe can regain the winning thread in the AR Legal Fillies' Handicap at Newmarket, according to Anita Chambers.

Enable and Frankie Dettori celebrate3

Mike Cattermole: Moore not merrier

Our columnist reflects on QIPCO British Champions Day, Ryan Moore's dash to Australia and a future dilemma awaiting John Gosden.

Sporting Life's NAP of the day4

Daily Nap: Star to shine

Dave Ord is siding with a Donald McCain-trained handicap hurdler at Carlisle for the Sporting Life Daily Nap on Thursday.

Paul Nicholls with Clan Des Obeaux and Frodon5

Paul Nicholls: Stable Tour

Paul Nicholls gives us the latest on star names such as Cyrname, Frodon and Clan Des Obeaux ahead of the National Hunt season while going through the rest of the team.

Racing Tips

Check out the latest daily racing preview

Wednesday's racing preview

Lady Bowthorpe can regain the winning thread in the AR Legal Fillies' Handicap at Newmarket, according to Anita Chambers.

Sporting Life's NAP of the day

Daily Nap: Star to shine

Dave Ord is siding with a Donald McCain-trained handicap hurdler at Carlisle for the Sporting Life Daily Nap on Thursday.

Check out the latest daily racing preview

Thursday's racing preview

David Clough makes Futuristic his best Thursday bet and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Next Race Off

17:40 Kempton
2
(6)
Jems Bond
J: D Nolan
7
(8)
New Jack Swing
J: Mark Crehan
6
(2)
Simply Susan
J: Charles Bishop

Football Tips

Read our Champions League preview as Liverpool, Chelsea and Barcelona return to action

Wednesday's Champions League tips

Best bets and stats for Wednesday's Champions League group stage action, including Liverpool and Chelsea's clashes.

All of Sporting Life's current best bets across a range of sports

Our best bets

Check out Sporting Life's best bets across racing, football and more.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette celebrate a goal for Arsenal in Valencia

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in October 2019.