Thorn expects England backlash

Gettys Images     26 Nov 2008     Gettys Images

The All Blacks visit Twickenham on Saturday needing victory to complete their third successful Grand Slam tour of Britain and Ireland.

The form book suggests they should have few problems dispatching an England side that is still reeling from its 42-6 collapse against the Springboks.

But Thorn predicts a ferocious backlash from Martin Johnson's team.

"In my experience it's bit of a negative when a side has lost like that," he said.

"South Africa have done us no favours - it will be real backs to the walls stuff for England.

"They have everything to play for an that will make it very dangerous.

"We need to start well and see where their confidence is at and what sort of resolve they have.

"The score against South Africa surprised me but the Springboks are a very strong side.

"We played them three times this year and it was tough in every game.

"It sounds like they had a real go at England, who will be licking their wounds and working hard to turn it around."

Thorn, a former rugby league international, believes England can take heart from one of sport's greatest upsets.

The Kiwis stunned overwhelming favourite Australia - and the sport - to win the league World Cup last weekend.

"We watched the final and were really pumped about it. People want to make it union v league but it's not like that," said Thorn.

"All the guys wanted the league boys to win. I was pleasantly surprised by the result.

"It just shows that any team, if they play with passion and play smart, have a chance. There's definitely some chance for England.

"In reference to England, the best thing to talk about is South Africa and Australia this summer. The Boks beat Australia 53-8 at home.

"A couple of weeks later we played the Wallabies in Brisbane and we were lucky to win that game 28-24.

"That's how much difference a week makes and how much difference attitude can make.

"I've been around for a while now and I know these games - they're dangerous."