New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen believes criticism of Wales will galvanise Saturday's opponents
Last Updated: 22/11/12 4:11pm
Hansen predicts Wales will come out firing against the All Blacks
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen believes criticism of Wales will galvanise his former side.
Wales - semi-finalists in last year's World Cup - host the world champion All Blacks at the Millennium Stadium off the back of home defeats to Samoa and Argentina.
The dismal Autumn performances have prompted critics to turn on Warren Gatland's side but Hansen, who coached Wales between 2002-2004, believes the hosts will rise to the challenge this weekend.
He said: "I don't have too much sympathy for them - I am in the opposition camp these days!
"I am not taking too much notice of their recent form. They are Grand Slam winners, they are semi-finalists (World Cup), and we know for sure this (New Zealand game) is the one they are chasing."
"But what it does do is I know it will make them tighter. Invariably, when they get criticised, they get tighter. It will make them more dangerous, I think.
"You have got to remember there are two teams playing, and the opposition only allow you to do so much.
"The opposition have the right to be able to come at you and do what they want to do. We have got to keep our composure in those moments and wrest back momentum. Obviously, we would like to start really well, but sometimes that is not the way it goes.
"But, as long as we stay connected, keep our composure, keep to our game and things we know we can play, the opportunities will come for us and we have got to take those opportunities.
"I am not taking too much notice of their recent form. They are Grand Slam winners, they are semi-finalists (World Cup), and we know for sure this (New Zealand game) is the one they are chasing. We have to be up for it."
Meanwhile, All Black lock Adam Thomson is facing an anxious wait after the IRB appealed against what they felt an 'unduly lenient' sanction for his stamp on Alasdair Strokosch at Murrayfield.