New Zealand Rugby
Hansen denies World Cup hangover
ESPNscrum Staff
March 27, 2012
Steve Hansen is unveiled as All Blacks head coach, All Blacks media session, Wellington, New Zealand, December 16, 2011
Steve Hansen believes the All Blacks will peak at the right time © Getty Images
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New All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen insists New Zealand's top players are not suffering a World Cup hangover.

A number of leading All Blacks have struggled for form in the opening stages of this season's Super Rugby competition, leading to suggestions they are suffering a physical and psychological lull after their World Cup triumph in October. However, Hansen, who succeeded Graham Henry following the tournament, says it is typical for players to peak later in the season.

"A lot's been made of [players' form] ecause we've come off the World Cup and everybody is looking for something to talk about," Hansen said. "But the reality is it's probably no worse than it's been in any other year.

"The All Blacks don't peak in February, March, April. They start peaking in May, June, July and it's a long year for these guys. They don't finish until December 1. It's about them and their Super 15 or All Blacks coaches making sure that we have them in the right condition to be able to do the job when it matters most.

"For Super 15 coaches, yes these round-robin games are important because it puts them into the finals. It's no different to the World Cup. We couldn't peak in our round-robin games, we had to peak in the finals series."

Hansen added: "I'm not too worried at this point. If we get closer to May or June and they're not playing well, then yes I'll be concerned and so should they be because they're starting to run the risk of not being selected," he said.

New Zealand face a three-game series with Ireland in June while their Rugby Championship campaign begins against Australia on August 18.

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