Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

George wants to learn Lions' lessons against All Blacks

All Blacks second five-eighth Sonny Bill Williams played his 50th test against the Wallabies in Yokohama last month GETTY IMAGESAll Blacks second five-eighth Sonny Bill Williams played his 50th test against the Wallabies in Yokohama last month
Frederick Owens | 10 November, 2018, 17:13

Providing the gauge is the strongest available New Zealand team, who are only a couple of injuries away from fielding their most potent side. "He and Tenzing climbed that mountain for the first time, when New Zealand was unheralded, a place of farmers and colonials, so to speak. I am looking forward to seeing it and then having a real good ding dong".

READ: Why are the All Blacks so good? .

Chris Ashton will be unleashed on New Zealand at Twickenham tomorrow with instructions from Eddie Jones to play with a smile on his face.

New Zealand's last major match at Twickenham resulted in them lifting the World Cup trophy with victory over Australia in 2015.

"Once you come to realise that [pressure], life becomes a little easier". That's because, of course, they have such ridiculous depth (Anton Lienert-Brown hasn't even made the matchday squad) and, no doubt, even if the SBW Show doesn't turn up, by the final whistle we'll all be extolling the virtues of Goodhue, Richie Mo'unga, Damian McKenzie, Rieko Ioane etc.

The All Blacks as a unit talk about the expectations on them, and Hansen and his staff encourage the players to "walk towards the pressure".

"We have 33 percent who have beaten them and the other 67 percent want to beat them". Every match is played out against the backdrop of next year's World Cup, with a showdown against the reigning champions providing the ultimate measure of where the team lies in the pecking order.

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Steve Hansen believes Eddie Jones unaffected by pressure
You've got to be in the game and, when you get the opportunity to score points, you've got to be good enough to take them. "Talking to Eddie, I know he and England are very excited about this game, and we are too", said Hansen.


"We have to put our stamp on the game".

"It's not hard because they feel it straight away - it can be an overwhelming place".

"Once you've acknowledged it's there you can deal with it", he said.

The analysis is based on the 23 most recent Test matches that New Zealand have played against the world's top nine ranked sides, as well as the British and Irish Lions. "We understand that, like any team, they've got weaknesses and we've got an opportunity to get at them", he said. There's 80,000 people there, it's all over the papers, everyone's talking about it, you can't get a ticket. New Zealand's draw in that series made it unsuccessful according to their head coach, who revealed in an ominous warning to England that the All Blacks have trained with a sharper edge this week out of hunger for revenge.

"That day is probably the best feeling of my rugby career so far and hopefully we can repeat that", said George, the Lions' first-choice hooker throughout the series. They emerged from a first 40 minutes in which they were comprehensively second-best (yes, there were injuries but it was a largely inexperienced Springbok side) to sneak past their opponents 12-11, owing to some smart kicking, aggression and intensity at the breakdown and more purposeful defence in the second half.

"They'll look to wear you down". South Africa were totally dominant but failed to take advantage of their territory and possession.

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