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Savea surveys England's threat

Savea surveys England's threat

All BlacksJune 27, 2024

First Tests of a new season always have extra pressure, but the new coaching regime and leadership add other factors for the All Blacks ahead of next week's first Test against England in Dunedin.

No8 Ardie Savea, 30, said England showed how well they were going when beating Japan at the weekend. The All Blacks would need to focus and ensure they nailed their preparation leading into the first of the two Tests, the second being in Auckland a week later.

Savea, who has 81 Test caps, said the sting of loss, especially last year's Rugby World Cup final 11-12 loss to South Africa, was driving him now that he is back in the All Blacks' fold after a stint playing in Japan with Kobe Steelers.

It took him a while to get over that disappointment, but after he had done that, he said, "You've got to get up, learn from it, and try to make sure it doesn't happen again, and we give everything we can to nullify teams."

The 7-19 loss to England in the 2019 RWC semifinal was another performance to learn from, and it was likely to factor into thinking ahead of the two-Test series on home soil.

"We understand what they can bring, and if we don't front up and match up, it'll be a long day.

"That's what happened in 2019, we got smacked in the nose and couldn't recover."

And, if that wasn't enough of a reminder, there was also their 25-25 draw at Twickenham in 2022.


He said while England still played a physical game, there appeared to be more desire to run the ball and use their skills and first five-eighths Marcus Smith made an impression on him with his running play.

"He is a threat. He is controlling the game. And they have got great forwards, especially their loose trio, so those are threats."

Savea quickly put his support behind lock Scott Barrett as captain of the side after the squad announcement was made on Monday.

Savea was named a joint vice-captain with Hurricanes teammate Jordie Barrett.

Savea, who led the side during flanker Sam Cane's injuries last season, said he was grateful to be in the squad after being in Japan.

"Wherever the team wants me to lead, that's where I'll lead. It is an honour to be named in the squad, you can never take it for granted.

"It is always a privilege being an All Black and we are all beside Scott."

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