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Rugby World Cup Steve Hansen: Pressure on hosts England to perform

Despite leading the Rugby World Cup holders into the 2015 showpiece, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said hosts England are under pressure.

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Steve Hansen: Pressure on Rugby World Cup hosts England to perform play

Steve Hansen: Pressure on Rugby World Cup hosts England to perform

(Omni Sports)

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen began the mind games with one of the Rugby World Cup holders' rivals England, claiming the pressure of hosting the tournament could be foreign to them.

England and co-hosts Wales are in Pool A, alongside the likes of Australia, but could very well be a threat to Hansen's New Zealand in the knockout stages.

New Zealand (twice) and South Africa (1995) are the only countries to have won the World Cup on home soil, with the Kiwis' 1987 and 2011 wins both sealed at Eden Park.

Other showings by World Cup hosts have seen the Wallabies (2003) and England (1991) lose in the final, while France (2007) finished fourth and Wales (1999) were quarter-finalists.

But Hansen said the English fans will demand only the silverware when the tournament gets underway in September.

"The big thing England have to cope with is the massive expectation on them playing at home because the English will expect them to win," Hansen told The Times.

"Whilst they'll have that same expectation themselves, they still have to deal with that pressure. It's something that the All Blacks have to live with in New Zealand all the time but it might be a little bit foreign to them."

Hansen took over the All Blacks' head coaching role after Graham Henry was in charge at the scene of their 2011 success, but the successor was in the wings as a long-time assistant.

"Understanding how you deal with it is a massive piece of the jigsaw puzzle," Hansen added.

"England will have to find that out themselves."

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