Rugby World Cup 2019: Revenge over South Africa not a motivator for Steve Hansen's All Blacks

Revenge is sweet but not for the All Blacks.

That's the message Steve Hansen has for anyone that thinks his side is looking to make right last year's shock Rugby Championship loss against the Springboks in Wellington.

A little over 12 months ago South Africa arrived on New Zealand shores rank outsiders but produced a sensational 80-minute performance to upset the All Blacks 36-34. 

Fast-forward to this weekend at the same venue and, again, South Africa are underdogs, although few would be taking them likely again.

That's certainly the case for the All Blacks, but there is no sense of revenge among the squad.

"We are not into that," Hansen told media on Monday night.

Saturday night's test is a peek into the World Cup crystal ball with the two rugby rivals set to do battle in their opening match of the tournament in Japan.

New Zealand and South Africa share a storied history at the World Cup in the knockout stages, splitting two wins apiece. This year will mark the first time the All Blacks and Springboks will do battle in the group stage, with the winner likely to top the standings and receive a slightly easier path to the final. 

But Hansen believes this weekend's winner will only score a minor physiological edge ahead of the September 21st test in Yokohama.

"The tradition is really important, we enjoy their company a lot, we respect them, we love the way they play and we love the challenge they bring to us, so from that point of view it is a really important encounter," Hansen said.

"I guess it will give whoever wins it a little confidence going into the World Cup, but it won't mean whoever wins this one will automatically win that one either. 

"Even then, whoever wins that game, it doesn't mean the other team is knocked out either.

"In the big scheme it gives everyone a chance to have a wee look at each other and feel each other out, but I don't think it's going to affect the World Cup, no."

Following the test in Wellington, Hansen and his fellow selectors will skim four players from the current 39-strong squad.

And with a majority of the Crusaders players back following the week off against Argentina, chances may have already run out for some World Cup hopefuls.

But Hansen said nothing is set in stone just yet. 

"There's a lot of water to go under the bridge before we name the next squad," he said.

"A lot of things will be becoming a lot clearer, most of them have done themselves no harm at all."

Hansen has been impressed by the new faces in the squad. Braydon Ennor, Sevu Reece, Luke Jacobson, Atu Moli and Josh Ioane all wore a black jersey for the first time last week.

Despite differing levels of success, Hansen is delighted with the maturity shown by his new recruits. 

"They're getting a bit more comfortable," Hansen noted.

"I think they get a lot of confidence the more they're in here.

"It can be a little bit overwhelming for some, and getting a game, getting the jersey on for the first time, getting a look at yourself in the mirror and all the things that come with your first time being named as an All Black to play is important to help that confidence, and then going out and playing well reinforces it.

"But just being around everybody and understanding that you fit in okay certainly helps."

Following Saturday night, the All Blacks have a week off before travelling to Perth to face the Wallabies.


Join Newshub for live updates of the All Blacks v Springboks from 730pm Saturday.