One game at a time for All Blacks

3:40 pm on 23 September 2015

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says his side won't rest on its laurels and be caught looking ahead to the Rugby World Cup knockout stages.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen Photo: PhotoSport

The title holders came away with a 26-16 victory from a bruising encounter with the Pumas at Wembley on Sunday, and Hansen is expected to ring the changes for Thursday's game against Namibia at the Olympic Stadium.

They then face the "massive men" of Georgia, in what Hansen expects to be another physical battle, before taking on Tonga.

"We've got out of it exactly what we wanted, a tough contest, a challenge in some areas. We've got some areas we've got to improve on, but the most important thing is that we got a win and it gives us the opportunity to control our own destiny," Hansen said.

"Watching Georgia the other day, they're massive men and they'll take some encouragement about what happened in Brighton (Japan beating South Africa) as well.

"They're well-coached by another Kiwi, Milton Haig, and we'll get plenty of physicality."

Hansen can afford to smile and watch as Pool A rivals Australia, England and Wales -- ranked two, three and four in the world -- battle it out for two quarter-final places from what Hansen and many others call the "pool of death".

All Black halfback Aaron Smith goes over to score his try during the 2015 Rugby World Cup match between New Zealand and Argentina.

All Black halfback Aaron Smith goes over to score his try during the 2015 Rugby World Cup match between New Zealand and Argentina. Photo: Getty Images

But he said the All Blacks needed to stay tuned in for tougher tests ahead.

"If they're (Pool A teams) going to go the whole way, they're going to have to play some big games week after week after week," he said.

"There are disadvantages in that as well. So it's swings and roundabouts. We're fresher, but we have to make sure we're not underprepared."

Hansen said New Zealand's stern examination by Argentina -- they trailed the Pumas until the 56th minute in front of more than 89,000 fans at Wembley == and Japan's sensational win over South Africa were great for the game.

"They want the Rugby World Cup to be a contest where everyone can come and look to be successful. I think Japan have opened the eyes of the rugby world.

"I think it's been a great weekend for the Rugby World Cup and World Rugby. They are the keepers of the game and they want more than just five, six, seven or eight teams in the world to be competitive."

-Reuters

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.