Hansen hits out at Springboks' comments on refs before match – 'Pretty obvious what they’re trying to do'

Steve Hansen has addressed the Springboks camps' tactics of putting pressure on referees before the All Blacks opening clash with South Africa at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday.

Earlier in the week, Springboks' assistant coach Mzwandile Stick asked officials to “respect the game“ and coach Rassie Erasmus then backed him up by suggesting the All Blacks' number one tag meant officials may be more lenient on them.

Today, at the All Blacks' team naming press conference Hansen was asked about their comments in the lead up to the big game.

"Pretty obvious what they're trying to do, whilst I have a lot of respect for South Africa and particularly Rassie, I don't agree with what he's doing trying to put pressure on the referee externally and they're under enough pressure already.

"They don't need us coaches to be doing what he's doing," Hansen said.

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Mzwandile Stick said the Springboks and the All Blacks were on an even footing after some close results. Source: 1 NEWS

The All Blacks' coach went on to say it's easy to get emotional after a game and criticise the referee, but the All Blacks have suffered from refereeing errors just like other teams have and you just "need to let the referee get on with it."

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Hansen says there is no “starting 15” that will be nailed down for the long Rugby World Cup campaign ahead. Source: 1 NEWS

The game kicks off Saturday 9:45pm NZT in Yokohama. It will be live on Spark Sport and 1-hour delayed on TVNZ 1.

Full team list:

1. Joe Moody (41) 2. Dane Coles (64) 3. Nepo Laulala (20) 4. Samuel Whitelock (112) 5. Scott Barrett (32) 6. Ardie Savea (34) 7. Sam Cane (63) 8. Kieran Read - captain (122) 9. Aaron Smith (87) 10. Richie Mo'unga (12) 11. George Bridge (5) 12. Ryan Crotty (45) 13. Anton Lienert-Brown (38) 14. Sevu Reece (3) 15. Beauden Barrett (78)
Replacements: 16. Codie Taylor (45) 17. Ofa Tuungafasi (30) 18. Angus Ta'avao (8) 19. Patrick Tuipulotu (25) 20. Shannon Frizell (5) 21. TJ Perenara (59) 22. Sonny Bill Williams (53) 23. Ben Smith (80)

Yesterday the Springboks named an unchanged starting line-up after their 41–7 warm-up win over Japan.

South Africa: Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handré Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff. Reserves: Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, RG Snyman, Francois Louw, Herschel Jantjies, Frans Steyn, Jesse Kriel.


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Springboks’ assistant coach asked officials to "respect the game" ahead of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup match. Source: 1 NEWS