England motivated to break the Eden Park streak

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Unbeaten at the ground since 1994, the All Blacks, who provided their new coaching team with some heart-stopping moments in their first game at the weekend, are looking for a sharper performance as they countdown towards the onset of the Rugby Championship next month.

Having gone so close, England wants a first win in New Zealand since 2003, the year of their Rugby World Cup triumph.

England's only win at Eden Park was in 1973 on a short tour arranged to replace that year's cancelled South Africa visit. In their three provincial warm-up games, John Pullen's England lost to Taranaki, Wellington and Canterbury, then turned around to upset the All Blacks 16-10.

England coach Steve Borthwick told the English media that the All Blacks would feel the pressure of expectation.

"They've said that they'll be better next week. They are going to produce a team that's going to be more experienced than ours and older than ours, and they are playing at Eden Park, so the expectation is all on them."

It was positive for England that most of his side were young enough not to have played at Eden Park and to have had their first experience of playing New Zealand in Dunedin. Most were still at school when England last played in New Zealand in 2014.

"The players can't do anything about the history but we can take care of now and the future. 

"That is our intention. We always recognised and respect the history, but these players weren't here in the past, that's the reality."

They are players who enjoy playing the game and testing themselves. The Test arena is the ultimate challenge in which to do that.

One of the more experienced players in the touring squad, lock Maro Itoje, said that while the All Blacks had an impressive record in Auckland, England's job was to break the winning sequence.

"This is an incredible opportunity for us. England haven't won here for so long. We want to change that narrative."


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