Sport Rugby

Wednesday 27 August 2014

'We won’t underestimate wounded England' - All Blacks ahead of Twickenham clash

Duncan Bech

Published 26/11/2012 | 16:22

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NEW Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster is wary of a wounded England seeking to rescue a dismal autumn by humbling the world champions at Twickenham on Saturday.

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Successive defeats to Australia and South Africa have left Stuart Lancaster's side facing a whitewash in their QBE internationals against the southern hemisphere heavyweights.

The decision-making of captain Chris Robshaw has been exposed in both matches, most recently at the climax of Saturday's 16-15 loss to the Springboks.

Trailing 16-12 with two and a half minutes remaining, Robshaw directed Owen Farrell to kick for goal instead of finding touch in hope of scoring the match-winning try.

Foster pointed an imaginary gun to his head and pulled the trigger when asked today how he would react if an All Blacks' skipper made a similar decision, while centre Conrad Smith smirked at the question.

But Foster refused to overlook England's challenge at Twickenham as New Zealand attempt to stretch their unbeaten run to 21 Tests.

"It's a dangerous time to be playing England. We saw that a little bit when we played Wales on Saturday," Foster said.

"They will have targeted us and there's no better way for redemption when you've had a couple of defeats than to knock over a top team.

"Between that and the youth they have, a little sense of adventure could come into their game.

"They've come off two big games so the energy levels will be pretty even and it will just be about who executes the best.

"They showed during their summer series in South Africa that they can play with a bit of width. They proved they have the ability to do that.

"It's going to be at least as tough as the Wales match from what we've seen.

"That was a very physical game and we were fortunate to execute really well in some moments and pile on a lot of pressure."

New Zealand demolished Wales 33-10 in Cardiff to continue their triumphant end-of-season procession through Europe.

The citing of hooker Andrew Hore for his forearm smash on Welsh lock Bradley Davies - the hearing is to be held on Wednesday - has disrupted their preparations for Twickenham, but they remain odds-on favourite to add England to their list of victims.

Providing further inspiration is that it will be World Cup-winning skipper Richie McCaw's last match before beginning a six-month sabbatical.

"I'm sure that for Richie it will be in his mind. It's already been mentioned at the back of the bus," veteran centre Smith said.

"I'm sure he won't bring it up. He's already spoken about how much he wants the team to finish well.

"We feel like we deserve it for the year we have, but that doesn't get you any points. You have to do the work."

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