The weather didn’t dampen the All Blacks training as they prepared for their semifinal this weekend.
“England at a RWC knockout game, it is massive,” says Sam Whitelock.
“It’s my first semi-final, we’re considering it as a final. We have to earn the right to have another week,” says Scott Barrett.
The All Blacks are confident after beating Ireland 40 to 14 in the quarter-finals. This is Whitelock's second match against England and he isn’t taking it lightly.
“They’ve got a great forward pack, they play a couple of different styles. They can play that direct style, mauls, lineouts, all those things. But they’ve also got a lot of flare too. They’ve got quality players that can change a game at the bounce of the ball,” says Whitelock.
New Zealand and England have only met each other on the field once in the last 5-years and even though New Zealand won, they only did so by one point.
But for all Blacks coach Steve Hansen, “History is history and its about creating new history both teams are gonna go at each other on Saturday.”
In the quarter-finals, England beat Australia 40 to 16 because of a strong forward pack, but Hansen has a game plan.
“We think we can match it with most forward packs. We’ve done it over the years. I don’t think our forward pack gets the credit for that as much as it probably should,” says Hansen
“They might play expansive or hide the ball away, so we’ve just got to be ready for whatever they throw at us,” says Whitelock.
Regardless Hansen believes it’s another level his team can exceed to this Saturday.