“You come to a tournament like this and you want to win the thing. We got beaten by a team that was better than us it’s gut wrenching.”
An emotional New Zealand coach Steve Hansen acknowledged yesterday that losing their World Cup semi-final to England was still “gut wrenching” though they were not surprised by the quality of their opposition.
The All Blacks were beaten in every facet of the game on Saturday at Yokohama Stadium and put on the back foot from the opening whistle, with centre Manu Tuilagi smashing over for a try after just 98 seconds.
“I’m still hurting as you’d expect, and I’m sure the whole country’s hurting,” Hansen told reporters yesterday. “You come to a tournament like this and you want to win the thing. We got beaten by a team that was better than us it’s gut wrenching.”
While Hansen admitted they were outplayed he said his coaching staff knew what was coming for them as England produced a massive defensive effort and dominated the breakdown and collision areas.
“It didn’t take us by surprise, we knew we were in for a hell of a battle,” he added. “This England team hasn’t just snuck up and poked us in the face. They won 18 games in a row and there’s only one other team that’s done that in the history of the game and that makes them a formidable side.
“We played them last year, managed to win by a point, it was a titanic struggle. They’re a team that were coming into this tournament over the last four years with a massive amount of pain themselves.
“They’ve been working and working their butts off, probably more than any other England team in history.
“They don’t play a sophisticated game. Win the ball, give it to a big bloke and run hard. Win the collision and get over the gain line. That’s rugby in its simplest form, but it is beautiful as well. We got what we expected and we just have to acknowledge that on the night, they did things a little better than we did.”