Steve Hansen and Colin Slade speak to the press ahead of New Zealand v Namibia New Zealand coach Steve Hansen doesn’t believe his side will send the scoreboard to three figures when his side meets Namibia on Thursday He added about Thursday’s opponents: “We can’t assume Namibia are going to lie down because they won’t. They’ll be proud men and they’ll come out and give it everything they’ve got and they’ll ask questions of us for sure.”Hansen has made a raft of changes for his side’s second game of the tournament, with captain Richie McCaw rested on the bench; replaced in position and captaincy by Sam Cane.A changed side is by no means a weakened side, with the bench in particular boasting some big names. Kevin Mealamu, Tony Woodcock, Kieran Read, Ma’a Nonu and McCaw have 557 caps between them and will all be available to come on from the pine. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS We haven’t seen a 100-point team at a World Cup since New Zealand put 108 on Portugal in 2007, but Steve Hansen doesn’t expect the All Blacks to reach three figures in this tournament.The reigning World Cup champions have their best chance of a century when they face lowly Namibia at the Olympic Stadium on Thursday evening.Even though New Zealand have recorded three of the five 100-point scores in World Cup history, Hansen believes the game has moved on in recent years to close the gap between the big nations and the minnows.“The game’s changed a heck of a lot since 1995. World Rugby’s spent a lot of time, energy and money trying to help the so-called minnows of the game to improve and I think by and large they’ve been successful in doing that,” he said, quoted on Rugby365.“It’s taken a long time but it’s happening, so I don’t think things like that are as up for grabs like they used to be. If someone’s going out thinking he’s going to get records, I’d say he’s in the wrong mental state in today’s game.”>>> Five things you might not know about Rugby World Cup minnows Namibia New Zealand: Colin Slade; Nehe Milner-Skudder, Malakai Fekitoa, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea; Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Ben Franks, Codie Taylor, Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Sam Cane (capt), Victor Vito. Replacements: Kevin Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Tony Woodcock, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Ma’a Nonu, Ben Smith.
He added: “For all he is eight going on nine, he has not had a hard time of things.“He has run 40 times in his life, which is not a lot for a sprinter of his age, and touch wood he is a very sound horse with no aches and pains. It all contributes to him being in such good form at this stage of his life.” – Advertisement – Judicial returned with a fine effort to finish second in the Palace House Stakes back in June, before adding the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle on his next start and then also winning the Queensferry Stakes at Chester in August.He has not run since finishing fourth at York in September. But Steve Brown, husband and assistant to Camacho, revealed this weekend’s feature race has been the long-term aim.He said: “Judicial has had a nice preparation for this. The ground at the back-end of the turf season is generally against him, which is why we planned to wait for the Golden Rose.- Advertisement – “I think it looks a stronger race compared to last year, and obviously he will have a penalty to carry for his Group Three win at Newcastle. It will be a tougher test for him, but at the same time we are looking forward to it.“In winning this race last year, he really proved himself over six furlongs, and I think that extra furlong over the last 12 months has really suited him. He has looked a better horse over six furlongs, because he has been able to travel more within himself.”While Judicial is now in his seventh season, Brown feels the fact he has been lightly raced is key to how he is maintaining his form.- Advertisement – Judicial will bid for back-to-back wins in the Betway Golden Rose Stakes at Lingfield.The eight-year-old sprang a 20-1 surprise in the 2019 edition of Saturday’s Listed heat, and trainer Julie Camacho was looking towards All Weather Finals Day with her charge until the April event was cancelled because of the Covid-19 lockdown.- Advertisement –