Rugby World Cup 2019: Steve Hansen offers advice to tense All Blacks fans

Relax and grab a beer.

That's the advice from Steve Hansen to an expectant nation before the All Blacks attempt to win a third straight Rugby World Cup in Japan. 

The All Blacks take on South Africa in their opening match on Saturday, then face Canada, Namibia and Italy, before the quarter-finals, where the challenge becomes much harder. 

While many fans are anxious about the upcoming tournament, Hansen told Newshub's Mike McRoberts they shouldn't worry and to have faith in what the team is doing. 

"Just grab a beer and understand that the boys are training well," urged Hansen. 

"We have a good plan we want to put in place and the fans can't control anything we do, so there is no point in them worrying about it. 

"I learnt a long time ago, you should worry about the things you can control and if you can't control it, then don't worry about it. Just enjoy it for what's its going to be.

"If we play the best we can, we have a great opportunity to get through to the quarter-finals and from then, it's about earning the right to turn up the following Monday until you reach the final." 

On Thursday, Hansen named his team for the opener against South Africa, with the selections of Ryan Crotty over Sonny Bill Williams just one of the talking points.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Steve Hansen offers advice to tense All Blacks fans
Rugby World Cup 2019: Steve Hansen offers advice to tense All Blacks fans

The forward pack is pretty much as expected, with Scott Barrett at lock for the injured Brodie Rettalick, while rookie wingers Sevu Reece and George Bridge are retained, ahead of Ben Smith - who is on the bench - and Rieko Ioane, who missed out altogether. 

"Like all All Blacks teams, it is difficult to select a team, because we're fortunate enough to have more than one option at each position," said Hansen. 

"You look at the opposition, and the people you think will cope with the pressure and the type of game you want to play, which helps narrow it down. 

"Normally, when you're waiting for a test to come, you don't have that added bonus of it being a World Cup. 

"Not everyone gets to go to one and the whole squad can't wait for it to get started."


Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us for live updates of the All Blacks v South Africa World Cup clash from 9:45 pm Saturday.