TOKYO, 31 Oct - Steve Hansen has called on his New Zealand players to pass one final "test of character" and make their country proud when they face Wales in Friday's bronze final at Tokyo Stadium.
After Saturday's shattering defeat by England, pictured above, coach Hansen, like many of his compatriots, has been impressed by the honest, emotional and surprisingly open manner in which his team has responded in a soul-searching week for a rugby nation usually so saturated with success.
Now Hansen, who says he is proud of the way the team has responded, wants to see them set an example to their young compatriots.
"It's about resetting the button and making sure that we go and have a performance that not only we can be proud of, but every New Zealander around the world and every fan of the All Blacks," said Hansen, who will be overseeing his 107th and final New Zealand test.
"The most important thing we can do is play at the highest standard we can play, coach to the highest standard you can coach, or be the best manager you can be. Doing that, we show not only ourselves and our team-mates, (but) our country that we've got some character.
"The most important thing we can do now is show that if your character's tested, you can stand up to it. That's the greatest success we can take out of this tournament, the greatest success we can show young people in New Zealand who are aspiring All Blacks or aspiring to be anything. You've got to have character."
Aaron Smith, the All Blacks' scrum-half who revealed on Thursday that he hopes to play at another World Cup at 34, said that Hansen's 'reset button' was hit the moment the players got together to go through a painful review of their England defeat.
"Coach asked us all individually how we're feeling," said Smith. "There was a lot of pain there, a lot of honesty. You've got grown men pouring their hearts out and that's shown real massive vulnerability," said Smith.
"Whether that would have happened a while back, maybe not, but I know coach pushes it pretty hard in our leadership meetings. I think we just really care about each other a lot.
"I'm really proud of our boys to show the emotion they did. Sometimes, being that honest in a really tough situation is so hard to take. But we all did it and probably left the room feeling a lot better."
Being permitted to show that vulnerability was, reckoned Hansen, a key to taking the pressure off unhappy players.
"It is a massive problem in New Zealand. Our biggest problem is that we don't give those people that are struggling permission to say they're struggling. They think they have to hide it," said Hansen, who himself was left close to tears at a press conference earlier in the week.
"Our job as parents, as work colleagues, is to support people. Giving them permission and then letting them just be vulnerable is the key. It's no different in sport, families or work. We've got to do it better than we’re doing."