Planet Rugby

England pack must front up

04th June 2014 06:23

Share:

Joe Launchbury

Confident: Joe Launchbury

Lock Joe Launchbury says England's forwards will need to maintain the form they discovered in the Six Nations if they want to compete against the All Blacks on Saturday.

Despite the tourists having to field a weakened side in the opening Test in Auckland, Launchbury said the players lining up to face the world champions at Eden Park on Saturday were primed for the challenge, despite being written off by many pundits.

"The way we have played against New Zealand in the last two matches has to give us confidence, but also our more recent games because we really came on during the Six Nations," said Launchbury.

"After a shaky start we built really well and brought on our attacking game, but the next step now is to continue improving.

"It's the ultimate challenge to come over here and play a three-Test series against New Zealand. We're aware of that and have been training with a slightly different group of players, but we're excited about the weekend.

"It's a really confident group, a young group... everyone's come in and is really excited about the task ahead, not only this game but the games to follow," added Launchbury, who was just three years-old the last time New Zealand lost at Eden Park. .

"It's been quite a long week to get into Test week but we've trained really well in the last few days."

The 23-year-old said England could not afford to make any mistakes against the vastly experienced All Blacks at a ground where the home side have not lost a Test since 1994.

He said England's pack needed to recreate their Six Nations form, when they narrowly missed out on the title after recovering from a disappointing start to dominate their rivals and deliver four consecutive wins.

"As a pack of eight it's going to be a big test for us at the weekend," he said.

"We need to pick up where we left off in the Six Nations - the blend of game we started developing about stressing teams and moving them around the pitch worked really well.

"Hopefully we'll pick up there and continue to improve."

The last England team to win in New Zealand went on the claim the 2003 World Cup, and Launchbury was reluctant to draw comparisons between the sides ahead of next year's global showpiece.

"2003 were a great side and we're not there, we're still a young team," he said.

"But we're going in the right direction. We've had some big game over the last 18 months and this is where you want to be - testing yourselves against the best. Hopefully we'll do ourselves justice."

The England players who took part in last weekend's Premiership decider arrived in Auckland on Wednesday but will not be considered for selection until the second Test in Dunedin on June 14.

Meanwhile, Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees is set to miss out on the opener after failing to recover from an ankle injury he suffered last month.

Bath's Kyle Eastmond is expected to replace him in the number 12 jersey, earning his third cap for England.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Preview
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs WaspsLeicester Tigers vs Wasps Preview
Exeter vs SaracensExeter vs Saracens Preview
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs GloucesterLondon Irish vs Gloucester Preview
London Welsh vs NorthamptonLondon Welsh vs Northampton Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale SharksNewcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South AfricaWales vs South Africa Preview
England vs AustraliaEngland vs Australia Preview
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs UlsterMunster vs Ulster Preview
Cardiff Blues vs TrevisoCardiff Blues vs Treviso Preview
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Leinster vs OspreysLeinster vs Ospreys Preview
Connacht vs ScarletsConnacht vs Scarlets Preview
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs DragonsGlasgow Warriors vs Dragons Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont AuvergneToulon vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821