England skipper Chris Robshaw has hailed New Zealand counterpart Richie McCaw as the epitome of an openside flanker.
England skipper Chris Robshaw has sung the praises of New Zealand counterpart Richie McCaw, hailing him as the epitome of an openside flanker.
The All Blacks face England at Twickenham on Saturday and are out for revenge against their hosts who beat them 38-21.in the corresponding match last year.
McCaw has played 122 Tests since making his debut in 2001 and is widely regarded as one of the world's finest players in any position for the past decade.
“Richie is probably the guy who epitomises the number seven shirt in world rugby,” Robshaw said.
“He is someone who has won over 100 of those matches (108), which is an incredible stat in itself.
“He has won World Cups, Tri-Nations and these are the achievements that, as players, you try to emulate.
“A lot of people are always talking about an out-and-out seven. Of course he is that and he gets over the ball, but he does so much more too.
“Fielding high balls, carrying, abrasive tackles or reading different situations – he's a very all-round player.”
Robshaw expects a backlash from the All Blacks after last year's result but said his side would offer stern resistance.
“I'm sure New Zealand have been waiting 12 months for this opportunity,” he said.
“We were the only team to beat them last year so I've no doubt they'll want to beat us now.
“They'll be wanting to get one over on us and we'll be wanting to do exactly the same to them. Both teams are going into this game to win.
“We can't go into this game waiting to get a shot at them or potentially get first blood. We need to make sure that from minute one we are in the fight.
“Last year's win against them didn't just happen. It was a lot of hard work, a lot of backs against the wall stuff, a lot of fighting spirit.
“We need to make sure we emulate that. We don't want to be saying after the final whistle 'it's okay, we won one last year'. We want to go out here and leave everything on the pitch.”