Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rugby Test: New Zealand v England

New Zealand v England at Twickenham

After last week's hammering by the Springbox and a flood of criticism from the Press you would think Martin Johnson and his team would be cringing in their rugby boots at the thought of a rampant All Black side. Well, rugby is a funny game and we have seen this English side bounce back before. Remember the 2007 Rugby World Cup? South Africa defeated England 36-0. England then bounced back to defeat Australia 12-10 and then to play South Africa again in the final. After all, one of Martin Johnson's bleak looks would be enough to motivate any player to play better. I expect England to put up a much stronger display but they are a very inexperienced side and they will be playing the best rugby side in the world.

The All Blacks are clever enough to know that England has bounced back before. They will be expecting a much tougher England side determined to make amends for last weekend's disaster. The New Zealanders have commented that they can still up their game by 20%. Well, look out England if they do. This team is playing excellent rugby at the moment and has swept all before it on this tour. I can't see England getting close.

Last Five Encounters
21.06.2008 New Zealand 44-12 in Christchurch
14.06.2008 New Zealand 37-20 in Auckland
05.11.2006 New Zealand 41-20 at Twickenham
19.11.2005 New Zealand 23-19 at Twickenham
19.06.2004 New Zealand 36-12 in Auckland.

The last time England defeated New Zealand was the one off test in Wellington in June 2003. England won 15-13 and then went on to win the World Cup in Australia four months later. The last time England defeated New Zealand at Twickenham was in November 2002 when they won 31-28. This was the time when England was at its height.

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-New Zealand 1st, England 5th

Prediction: New Zealand by 28 points.


15 Delon Armitage
14 Paul Sackey
13 James Noon
12 Riki Flutey
11 Ugo Monye
10 Tobias Flood
9 Daniel Care
8 Nicholas Easter
7 Michael Lipman
6 James Haskell
5 Nicholas Kennedy
4 Steven Borthwick, Capt.
3 Phillip Vickery,
2 Lee Mears
1 Timothy Payne.
16 Dylan Hartley
17 Matthew Stevens
18 Thomas Croft
19 Thomas Rees
20 Harold Ellis
21 Daniel Cipriani
22 Daniel Hipkiss
Head Coach: Martin Johnson

New Zealand
15 Mils Muliaina
14 Joseph Rokocoko
13 Conrad Smith
12 Ma'a Nonu
11 Sitiveni Sivivatu
10 Daniel Carter
9 James Cowan
8 Rodney So'oialo
7 Richard McCaw, Capt.
6 Jerome Kaino
5 Alistair Williams
4 Bradley Thorn
3 Neemia Tialata
2 Keven Mealamu
1 Tony Woodcock
16 Hikawera Elliot
17 John Afoa
18 Anthony Boric
19 Kieran Read
20 Piri Weepu
21 Stephen Donald
22 Isaia Toeava
Head Coach: Graham Henry

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