Kiwi coach itching for this huge battle

Rugby Union

NEW Zealand head coach Steve Hansen believes his team’s clash with England tomorrow (Saturday) is bigger than last year’s series against the British and Irish Lions.

Hansen’s All Blacks are set to play at Twickenham for the first time since their 2015 World Cup final victory over Australia.

This sold-out Test match follows the 2017 Lions tour, when New Zealand were held to a draw on home soil.

“I think the England match is even bigger, actually,” said 59-year-old Hansen. “I think the Lions tour has made it bigger because we weren’t successful.

“In only being able to draw the series wasn’t successful to us. But that’s made this week have a sharper edge to it, which is good. You’ve got to be reasonably stupid if you can’t work out this is going to be big.”

He added: “There will 80,000 people in the stadium, and it’s all over the papers. Everyone’s talking about it, and you can’t even get a ticket.

“You’d have to be on holiday, I reckon, if you didn’t work out that this is going to be big. And we haven’t got anybody on holiday this week. There’s huge anticipation at what lies ahead on Saturday, and we want to play two playmakers.”

And Sonny Bill Williams, the cross-code star who will start at inside-centre, will line up in an exciting All Blacks backline, alongside fellow centre Jack Goodhue and full-back Damian McKenzie.

With few other changes expected from the England side who edged past South Africa, centre Ben Te’o is set to continue in the No.12 shirt, resuming his rivalry with Williams, having faced him in Australia’s Rugby League competition, the NRL, before doing battle in the Lions series last summer.

“I’ve played against him a couple of times, and he’s a dangerous man,” said Te’o. “He’s got so many aspects to his game, and I respect what he’s done.”




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Posted by on Nov 9 2018. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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