All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen has defended South Africa's decision to leave a core group of more than 20 players at home, rather than play them on the Australasian leg of the Tri-Nations championship.
This followed after the Springboks touched down in New Zealand to a media barrage, amidst claims of a secret training camp in Rustenburg for 'injured' first-choice Boks who did not make the trip.
The Springboks play the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday in their second Tri-Nations match.
"I think South Africa has done what is right for their team," Hansen told a media scrum at the team's training base.
"The most important tournament of the year is the World Cup and every nation is looking at that as the case.
"If we won the World Cup and didn't win the Tri-Nations do you think too many people would be complaining about the Tri-Nations?
"I can't see too many and it'd be the same in South Africa, the same in Australia."
* Meanwhile the Bok coach, Peter de Villiers, has continued to deny that the 20-odd players left behind were in a secret training camp - despite clear evidence that those players were indeed present at a five-star facility near Rustenburg in the North-West province.
The South African Rugby Union has not commented on the Rustenburg training camp, however, there have been Bok sightings in that part of the country.
Springbok Captain John Smit told the media in New Zealand that he did not know if those players were training, because he (Smit) was not in South Africa and thus was not aware of what they were up to.
"The All Black media is always terrified about us not showing them respect and I suppose it’s very much a case of what kind of team we have brought here," Smit said in Wellington.
"Our guys have come here to win and they don't seem to believe that that’s the case."
The coach, De Villiers, said he expected the media barrage.
"I expected this, you know that there is fear for South Africa, and if our better players and more experienced players are here then everybody knows that."
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