Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's emotional post-defeat phone call

Coach Steve Hansen cut a forlorn figure on the Yokohama pitch, after his All Blacks capitulated to a rampant England in their World Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Hansen was spotted on his phone shortly after the 19-7 defeat and told media that he'd sought solace from some comforting words from his spouse.

In a rare display of vulnerability, Hansen took a tactical sip of water to control his emotions, as he reflected on the moment.

"I rung my wife," Hansen recalled, pausing to compose himself. "We had a bit of a chat."

A couple of other familiar faces were well placed pitchside to sympathise with what Hansen was going through. Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry and centre Conrad Smith were part of the last NZ team to lose a World Cup game - the quarter-final defeat by France 12 years ago. 

Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's emotional post-defeat phone call

"Then I talked to 'Ted' and Conrad about 2007. We mentioned the fact that it's no different - the same gutting feeling.

"Ted and I talked a bit about how well George Ford had played. Ted had quite a few comments, I did a bit of listening and tried to do a bit of learning.

"Then you just move on, don't ya."

Now Hansen's challenge - his last with the All Blacks - lies in lifting his team for Friday's bronze-medal match, a notoriously hollow affair that most players might admit they could do without.

His outlook on the match was typically philosophical.

"The fact is the game is there and we have to get up - they're the inconvenient facts.

"How do we do that? Well, we get connected again and we set ourselves an immediate goal, and we work hard to make sure that we really enjoy this week"

Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's emotional post-defeat phone call

While the stakes may be minimal, the occasion will mark the final test for Hansen and a core of departing veterans - including captain Kieran Read and Ben Smith - that's sure to add a sentimental edge to the fixture.

"It will be the last week that this team's together and we have an opportunity to do it well. It's our choice how we do that, but I know, in talking to the boys, that we'll get a response."

Their opponents for that game will be decided by Sunday's second semi-final between South Africa and Wales.

Join us for live updates of Wales v South Africa from 10pm Sunday

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