Wednesday, November 03, 2010

All Blacks skipper expects adventurous England

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is expecting a more adventurous England when the teams meet at Twickenham on Saturday.

McCaw believes there is growing evidence that England's traditionally conservative mindset is finally being balanced out by a desire to use the ball.

"I think they showed that against the Wallabies [in June]. Certainly the way the game's going, to compete you need to have the ability to use the ball… I think they have more guys who have that attitude."

Northampton fullback Ben Foden has caught McCaw's attention in particular during the past few days as he has scouted the English squad.

"It looks like they want to use the ball a bit more and they will get some confidence from what they achieved in June. They will be a physical team because that's what they've always been, but they have ability to use it, so I think it will be a bit different to last year.
"Foden's at fullback and he's got some real ability with ball in hand. Perhaps in the past you would expect to have the ball kicked back to you, but they have players with the attitude to attack first and they are in the team because of that I'm sure.
"They still kick well, that's one thing they do well and when they have the balance a little different than the past it makes them more threatening.

England beat Australia 21-20 in their last test outing and should have won the first test too. More revealing though was the style of play during their 35-28 loss to the New Zealand Maori.
The addition of New Zealand-born players like Riki Flutey over recent seasons has helped change the mindset in the backs and former Kiwi league international Shontayne Hape, who has been named at second-five continues the trend.

With the recall of big prop Andrew Sheridan, McCaw is still expecting a tough physical confrontation at Twickenham where he believes the All Blacks will have to adapt to what they have been used to during the Tri-Nations.

"Yeah, it will be interesting. The English probably have the desire to engage more physically, certainly drives and stuff like that and that will carry over to breakdowns.
"They are prepared to try and knock you off the ball and gang tackle, whereas the Wallabies… they just tackle and spread and have one guy sniffing the ball."

No comments: