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England will give All Blacks something to think about

SPOTLIGHT: Veteran New Zealand hooker Codie Taylor is expecting a brutal opening Test against England as the All Blacks begin a new era under Scott Robertson.

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New Zealand host England on Saturday in Dunedin in the first of two Tests to open Robertson’s tenure as head coach of the All Blacks, who also have a new captain in lock forward Scott Barrett.

The second is a week later at Auckland’s Eden Park, where the All Blacks have not lost since 1994.

“Their game is built off around their set-piece and putting you under pressure in the wrong parts of the field,” Taylor said of England.

England warmed up by thrashing Japan 52-17 in Tokyo nine days ago before flying in for their first tour of New Zealand since 2014.

“They showed some good stuff against Japan,” Taylor told reporters in Wellington. “They have been over here, working away. It’s going to be a bloody tough match.”

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England have won eight of 43 Tests against the All Blacks, but only two of those victories were on New Zealand soil.

The All Blacks have not played since losing the World Cup Final to South Africa in Paris in October, Meanwhile, England played in the Six Nations, finishing third.

Taylor gave little away about how New Zealand will play under Robertson, who led the Crusaders to seven straight Super Rugby titles.

“We’ve talked about clarity and connection, and how we want to play. Within that, there’s some exciting things,” Taylor said.

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“We always pride ourselves in playing what’s in front of us, but it’s dealing with the likes of an England team that wants to put you under pressure and get the ball behind you.”

All Blacks assistant coach Scott Hansen hinted that the side’s tactics would not embrace radical changes.

“Fundamentally, it’s going to be around our set-piece ability to create momentum and build pressure,” he said.

“That will still be our DNA, that is All Blacks rugby. We’re excited to see the team come together for the first time.”

England fullback George Furbank said his team is expecting Scott Robertson to have made an impact.

“He’s a winning coach, look at all the trophies he won with the Crusaders,” Furbank told reporters in Auckland. “He knows how to get a team to win.”

The fullback expected New Zealand to stick to their strengths.

“They have a very good off-loading game, they are very good on the front foot, especially at home,” Furbank said.

“We know there is a big challenge coming this weekend.”

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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