As often happens during the Autumn internationals a Northern Hemisphere team finds itself underside criticism for playing too conservatively.
Rugby, despite. The focus on wins and losses, should be a spectacle, should be wide open and fun to watch. England, which beat South Africa despite scoring no tries on Saturday (score 12-11), is one of those teams that comes under the “not enough tries” critique, but New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen said you have to respect the way England plays.
“There’s definitely a lot of interest with two big nations playing each other
🎥 What are the All Blacks expecting from @EnglandRugby at Twickenham and how are the players feeling after all their travel? Find out from Sam Whitelock and Ian Foster.#ENGvNZL pic.twitter.com/BuPjG9V7Kp— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) November 6, 2018
“I think people make a lot of mistakes about England,” Hansen said this week at the All Blacks assembly kickoff press conference. “Not to say they play a better game or worse game, they just play differently. They are a hard team to play against. They showed that on Saturday.”
Hansen said the physical battled the kicking battle will be crucial, and he also expects this Saturday’s game to be perhaps less of a defensive battle than England vs South Africa.
“They won a game that probably they didn’t feel like they walked off and played their best,” said Hansen. “But they will play differently against us because we play differently than South Africa. [England] and South Africa are the two best aerial sides in the world.”
New Zealand will have to be solid under the high ball and hand England’s kick-chase. And handle the battle at the rucks.
“The breakdown will be a contest well roll our sleeves up and get into it,” said Hansen. “It will definitely be an arm wrestle.”