England clash bigger than Lions series, says All Blacks coach Hansen


As the All Blacks trek to Ireland to play the second-ranked team in the world, they may have to consider playing in Dublin next weekend without midfielder Sonny Bill Williams who left the field in the 30th minute with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. They had to scramble with everything they had. What the All Blacks do is build pressure themselves and if they are not making mistakes then they are very hard to live with.

It was never convincing but it was enough and when Richie Mo'unga kicked the ball out at the end, there was more relief than joy for the All Blacks.

In Gracenote's analysis of conversion kicking rates, something which they argue is a better measure of true kicking ability due to the fact every kick has to be taken and harder kicks can not be declined, New Zealand have a success rate of 74.18%.

Aaron Smith, who was on the bench for the Australia game, has regained the starting halfback role from TJ Perenara, who drops into the replacements.

Maro Itoje has been told to take the fight to New Zealand with his physical play even if it leads to punishment from the officials. Ardie Savea, 6. Liam Squire, 5.

This is still a brilliant step-up for England, especially seeing how poor they'd been in previous games this year. If we're not good enough then we work out how we can get good enough.

Two-time world player of the year Beauden Barrett and mercurial youngster Damian McKenzie will both start in the one-off Test in London.

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It was the worst possible start for the All Blacks - giving England an early in to ignite the crowd and fuel belief is precisely what they didn't want to do.

England are coming off a tight 12-11 win over the Springboks last weekend at Twickenham.

When England were able to smash a driving maul over the line with half their backline in it, there became an obvious sense of urgency that the All Blacks had to be the next team to score.

"It's great to have him back in the team and I know he'll be dying to get out there and show everyone what he can do".

New Zealand face England for the first time in four years on Saturday at a sold-out Twickenham. The forwards were crunching that little bit further over the gainline.

"We've got natural athletes who want to run and carry the ball and pass the ball and have terrific instincts and want to play what's in front of them", he said.

Its only loss this year came in a 36-34 defeat against South Africa in Wellington, New Zealand in September, but as one of sport's most dominant winning machines, Hansen says the All Blacks are used to dealing with the expectation of a rugby-mad nation.