Rugby

England can 'hurt' All Blacks

2014-06-06 10:41
Richie McCaw (AFP)

Auckland - All Blacks captain Richie McCaw gave an insight on Friday into the team culture that England coach Stuart Lancaster is trying to emulate in his squad as he strives to build a side capable of winning the Rugby World Cup on home soil next year.

"What's gone before doesn't change what you do each on Saturday," McCaw told reporters in Auckland after his team's final training run ahead of the first game in the three-match series. "You have to go and perform ... and get the job done."

Lancaster told a rugby television show in New Zealand on Thursday that was the type of attitude he was trying to instil in his side as they build towards the game's global showpiece event.

England will have to play the game of their lives to upset the All Blacks at their Eden Park fortress on Saturday and with the knowledge that many of the match-day squad could be dropped for the second test in Dunedin.

Sixteen, mostly first choice, players only arrived in New Zealand on Wednesday following the English club final.

None were available for the first Test and Lancaster was forced to name an inexperienced side, prompting pundits to write off their chances.

Of the 28 Tests the All Blacks have played since they inched their way to an 8-7 victory over France in the 2011 World Cup final, they have won 26, lost one and drawn one.

The only loss was to a fired-up England team in 2012 at Twickenham. Last year, they were pushed all the way by an England side eager to repeat the dose.

In both matches, the team that started the best won. In 2012, the All Blacks made needless infringements and flyhalf Owen Farrell kicked three penalties and a drop goal to give the hosts a 12-0 halftime lead.

That forced the All Blacks to play catch-up rugby, pushing passes that were not quite on, allowing the hosts to run out to a 38-21 victory.

Last year, the All Blacks reversed that with Julian Savea and Kieran Read, who will both miss Saturday's clash with injury, scoring tries inside the first quarter.

That gave their side the breathing room they needed to record a 30-22 win.

"The start is massively important, especially in this first Test," England captain Chris Robshaw told the RFU website.

"We might not get a lot of opportunities so we need to be absolutely clinical when they come. You've got to back yourself and that's what we'll be doing."

No matter who lines up wearing the red rose, McCaw said his side would be in for a tough match.

"I think everyone understands the challenge we're in for," he said.

"Right across the park they're good rugby players and have the ability to hurt you if they get it their way.

"We're going to have to make sure we're quick to get up to speed with that and the intensity that comes from it."

Read more on:    all blacks  |  richie mccaw  |  rugby
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