Rugby World Cup 2019: Coach Steve Hansen welcomes extended All Blacks prep for quarter-finals

Coach Steve Hansen has no concern about the danger of the All Blacks being under-done by their lack of recent gametime when they take on Ireland in their World Cup quarter-final showdown on Saturday.

In fact, Hansen sees nothing but positives from the extended preparation that the cancellation of their final pool game against Italy due to Typhoon Hagibis has afforded.

"Having a week off is not a bad thing," said Hansen. "So, we're quite excited by that fact."

To ensure his players' engines remained primed, the All Blacks held an intra-squad game in lieu of Friday's practice that Hansen believes was - at the very least - as beneficial as a test.

And he has the numbers to prove it, courtesy of the trackers embedded in each player's jersey to measure individual performance.

"It's allowed us to work really hard on Friday. GPS numbers were equivalent, or just above, what a normal test match would be, so we don't feel like we've lost any opportunity to get ourselves where we need to be."

Ireland have enjoyed plenty of success against the All Blacks over the past three years. The teams have shared honours through their last four encounters, while the Irish will carry the added boost that comes with having won their most recent clash - a 16-9 victory Hansen described as "titanic".

"They're a quality side. They've been No.1 this year and the last three results are loss, win, loss, so there won't be any complacency in our camp. It's pretty exciting and we're right where we want to be."

"We played them in November. It was a titanic struggle and on the day they were  the best side. Most teams we play get up 10 percent what they normally do and they're no different. The big difference here is it's a do-or-die game for both teams."

"Both teams are in good nick, fresh and excited… we're really looking forward to the challenge."

Rugby World Cup 2019: Coach Steve Hansen welcomes extended All Blacks prep for quarter-finals

Hansen also confessed he'd been as enamoured as the next rugby fan by the performance of host nation Japan.

The Brave Blossoms sealed their first-ever spot in the knockout stage of the tournament with a win over Scotland on Sunday night to finish at the top of Pool A, leaving the All Blacks to lock horns with runners-up Ireland.

Given their performances so far - which includes a win over the Irish - Hansen admitted he's pleased his side will avoid the red-hot locals this weekend.

"People have said 'who do you want to play?'" said Hansen. "Well, they're [Japan] the in-form team, so I'm quite happy they're on the other side of the draw."

Japan should now be recognised as a tier one test nation, Hansen believes, after their timely morale-boosting efforts through the tournament so far.

"They're now in the top eight in the world on performance, they play quality rugby and Japan should be very, very proud of them.

"What a marvellous thing for the tournament. It's given the game a boost, given Japanese rugby a boost and given the Japanese people a boost after what was a pretty horrific weekend."

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