January 23, 2019

Ashton to start for England, no Tuilagi for All Blacks showdown

10 November 2018, 05:12 | Anna Jefferson

GETTY IMAGESAll Blacks second five-eighth Sonny Bill Williams played his 50th test against the Wallabies in Yokohama last month

All Blacks second five-eighth Sonny Bill Williams played his 50th test against the Wallabies in Yokohama last month

We don't want to sit there and watch it, because that's what happens when you play New Zealand sometimes - you sit there and watch and think, "They're the best team in the world, we can't compete against them".

If Hillary put New Zealand on the map, the all-conquering All Blacks have made it the center of the universe when it comes to rugby.

To aid their pursuit of a stunning upset, survivors from the 2012 victory at Twickenham and the second Lions in Wellington a year ago have been canvassed for their views on where New Zealand are vulnerable.

"The one constant thing about being in the All Blacks is you're under pressure constantly", said Hansen.

"They (England) play a game, it can be fairly conservative, but it wins football (rugby) games, and they've got some guys out there who are pretty devastating with ball-in-hand".

They are heavy favourites for victory at the weekend but Hansen shrugged off talk of his team being under pressure to deliver.

"I don't know who's writing [England] off, you'd be foolish to do that, but does it put pressure on us?"

"Once you come to realise that [pressure], life becomes a little easier".

"There's already pressure on us. The management are real harsh on the boys and the boys are harsh on each other so it makes it a healthy competitive environment".

"Give them a free rein with a framework to operate in, make them feel good about themselves with a smile on their face, and away they go".

"Once you've acknowledged it's there you can deal with it", he said.

Lawes was a member of the British and Irish Lions side that beat New Zealand in last year's second Test in Wellington, while he also featured in England's last win over the Kiwis in 2012. "The thing that impressed me most is that in that French league you can have very, very good players who when they get there deteriorate because they get lazy", Wisemantel said.

"The experience they had over us was massive - nearly four times as many caps - but with that you're almost not scared in some regards; you just think, 'right, we'll just go at it, try to express ourselves and throw everything at them to try and get the win".

"The Lions tour has made it bigger because we weren't successful in only drawing the series".

When Jones was in charge of the Wallabies in the early 2000s he led them to five wins in 11 games against New Zealand, including the 2003 World Cup semi-final.

Flanker Itoje, the youngest member of Warren Gatland's Lions squad in 2017, was a star performer during that tour of New Zealand - which ended in a draw - and believes he now "understands" the psyche of the All Blacks.

"They'll look to wear you down".

Les Bleus were supposed to remain behind the 10-metre line in their own half, but they advanced towards the All Blacks in a "V-formation", led by captain Thierry Dusautoir.

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