Rugby World Cup 2015: New Zealand 'showed big-game belief'

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen
Steve Hansen led the All Blacks to their 13th straight win at the World Cup
Rugby World Cup, 18 September-31 October
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live or 5 live sports extra, plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

New Zealand reached their second World Cup final in a row because of their experience and composure, according to head coach Steve Hansen.

The defending champions were far from their fluent best but dug deep to come from behind at half-time and beat South Africa 20-18 at a sodden Twickenham.

"We've had moments where we had to keep that self-belief. Then in those moments it's just about the process," he said.

"It becomes the norm. It's a learned skill and self-belief is massive."

The All Blacks, aiming to become the first nation to retain the Webb Ellis Cup, trailed 12-7 at the break after poor discipline allowed Handre Pollard to kick four penalties.

But, after skipper Richie McCaw led an on-pitch discussion when they returned early for the second half, Hansen's team tightened up as Dan Carter's 45th-minute drop-goal swung momentum in their favour.

"We just needed to come out for the second half and start taking the game to them rather than waiting for them to take it to us," added Hansen.

"We talked about it at half-time. We talked about keeping composure and talked about winning the first 10 minutes."

Australia or Argentina?

The All Blacks know they will return to Twickenham for next Saturday's final - but must wait until Sunday to discover who their opponents will be.

And Hansen said he does not have a preference over whether his side face Australia or Argentina, who also meet at Twickenham in their semi-final.

"I don't care who we play, we're in the final. But I hope they bash each other to bits," he said.

'Springboks should be in the final'

Heyneke Meyer

South Africa suffered one of the biggest sporting humiliations when they lost to Japan in their opening game of the tournament.

But Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer said he was proud of his team's response to reach the last four and their narrow loss to the All Blacks.

"I don't think anybody gave us any chance. But the guys came through and the youngsters really matured," he said.

"But it will never be good enough if I coach South Africa to come close and not win. We had a chance and we didn't take it.

"We should have been in the final and I will never settle for second."

Discipline let us down - Habana

South Africa wing Bryan Habana, in what is likely to be his last World Cup, was hoping to help his side to their first final since 2007 - and become the tournament's outright all-time leading try scorer in the process.

But Habana, 32, was caught out of position for the All Blacks' first try, and then sin-binned midway through the second half as the Springboks trailed 17-12.

Bryan Habana
Bryan Habana is the joint all-time leading World Cup try scorer alongside Jonah Lomu with 15 tries

"Give the All Blacks credit, we had a few discipline issues and with a man down to restrict us from scoring, they showed their status as the number one side in the world," he said.

"We let ourselves down in some areas in the second half, but full credit to New Zealand for keeping possession with 14 men.

"They are world class and deserve to be in the final."

Social media reaction

Brian Moore
Former England hooker Brian Moore
Martyn Williams
Former Wales flanker Martyn Williams
Matt Dawson
Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson
Former All Black Jonah Lomu
Former All Black Jonah Lomu
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