New Zealand coach Steve Hansen doesn't believe his side will send the scoreboard to three figures when his side meets Namibia on Thursday
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.”
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.
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.