All Blacks ready for ‘changed’ England

Date published: November 2 2014

New Zealand are braced for another stern test from England when the two teams go head-to-head at Twickenham next Saturday.

New Zealand are braced for another stern test from England when the two teams go head-to-head at Twickenham next Saturday.

The All Blacks claimed a 3-0 series triumph when the sides met in New Zealand in June but were forced to work hard against an England side that made a significant impression on their hosts.

“England’s style of play has changed so much during my time with the All Blacks,” said flanker Jerome Kaino who made his Test debut in 2006.

“When I compare the England I first played and the one now – it is two totally different side.

“The brand of rugby that they play has gone to another level. I think they were quite unlucky to lose a couple of those games in June when it went down to the wire and we will expect nothing less this time around.”

Winger Cory Jane is another impressed by England’s transformation under head coach Stuart Lancaster who masterminded the victory over the All Blacks at Twickenham in 2012 – one of only two defeats New Zealand have suffered since lifting the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

“We always knew they were going to be physical but they played rugby too which is what you want to see rather than the kicking all the time and slowing the play down.

“They are a really attacking side now and that was in June when it was coming to the end of their season when a few may have been looking ahead to the end-of-season break.

“Now they are getting into their work, it’s mid-season, they are all wanting to play rugby so I think we will face a big challenge at Twickenham.”

Kaino believes the fact that the 2015 Rugby World Cup is now less than a year away will add even more intensity to their latest tour of the UK that will also see them tackle Scotland and Wales later this month.

“We always face a stiff challenge in the UK and expect it even more so this year as the World Cup is going to be in England next year,” said Kaino, whose side will line up against Argentina, Tonga, Georgia and Namibia in Pool C at the World Cup.

“It will be a dress rehearsal for all the teams involved, especially England who will be hosting the World Cup.

“The atmosphere at Twickenham especially is amazing and it is good for us too as we have got a large fan base there. It will be tough but we always look forward to it.”

A single point separated the sides in Dunedin earlier this year and Jane, who is set to miss this latest clash with England with a hamstring injury picked up against the USA, is primed for another tight contest.

“We know when we play England it is going to go all the way to 80 minutes, we have seen that the last few times we have played them” he said.

“We know we have got to stick to our game plan. Our fitness is good enough we just have to get our mental game right of we are going to beat them.”

by Graham Jenkins