Number eight Billy Vunipola believes the haka he will face on Saturday against New Zealand can in fact inspire England at Twickenham.
England number eight Billy Vunipola believes the haka his men will face on Saturday against New Zealand can inspire the Red Rose at Twickenham.
The meeting with the All Blacks is England’s first of November and Vunipola says this weekend’s pre-game war dance will fire up both sets of players.
“It lifts the All Blacks, but I think it also lifts the opposition as much as them,” said the Saracens back-row, speaking to Sky Sports on Wednesday.
“They’re laying down the challenge and are asking you: ‘are you ready to rock ‘n’ roll’?
“It’s always special and it’s a massive honour to go up against it. When it’s being performed, you’re standing there thinking ‘right let’s go, they’ve laid it on, so let’s match them or better’.
“If you’re not ready for what is coming, they will smash you in the first 10 minutes and then you’ll be on the back foot consistently. If you are ready, then you are in for a great game.
“You look around and can see how much it means to them in their facial expressions and by how hard they hit themselves.
“It’s special to stand in front of it, especially with the crowd around you creating a massive atmosphere.”
Vunipola, who is set go up against Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw and Kieran Read in the back-row on Saturday, added he cannot wait for the battle that lies in wait at Twickenham.
“McCaw floats around waiting for that opportunity to make a game changing impact, reading things really well,” explained the number eight.
“He works with the referee by not complaining after decisions are made – refs like that. He doesn’t turn around and squabble with the ref, he just gets on with the game. He sets a really good example for his team.
“You have to look after your basics and, if you don’t give McCaw any space over the ball at the breakdown or show a hint of weakness, then he can’t exploit that situation.
“As a back-row unit we have to slow their ball down, legally. Teams struggle against New Zealand when they get too much front foot ball.
“A couple of weeks ago Australia slowed their ball down and made the breakdown a massive fight.”