Guscott eyes epic England v All Blacks clash in November

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With any of the top five teams in the world capable of beating the others on their day, New Zealand still had the capacity to come back after disappointments earlier this, he said.


"England also have the advantage of not having a huge weight of expectation on their shoulders. The reality is that, at the moment, New Zealand – like South Africa, France and Ireland – will be narrow favourites to beat England at Twickenham.


"What we need to see this autumn is for the England front five to be so aggressive and powerful that they are consistently winning quick ball. The speed of the ball that the England pack produced in that 2019 World Cup semifinal against New Zealand was second to none, and it gave the attack such speed against an unsettled defence," he said.


However, it was a level of play England had rarely achieved since.


"New Zealand are still much better than most in terms of individual talent, but I have not seen the All Blacks make as many mistakes – particularly dropping the ball – as I saw in the Rugby Championship.


"However, over the last 15 years, New Zealand have shown us that if you capitalise on momentum in Test rugby, you can score 20 points and nail the opposition in a 10-minute period. Recently they have not done it as well as before, but they have still shown the capacity to do it.


"The All Blacks still have the individual skill-sets to turn things around quicker than the opposition, and that gives them the advantage. It is why they have been able to rebound after their recent defeats to Ireland, South Africa and Argentina – although we all know that they would prefer not to have to reset."


Guscott said recent comments around the captaincy and the discussion over preferences for Richie Mo'unga or Beauden Barrett at first five-eighths might create doubt within the side.


"That is new territory for New Zealand. The only way you can quash that doubt is [by] winning, and that is what makes the game against England next month a significant match for both teams.


"If New Zealand beat England by a 25-point margin, people will start asking how they can make up that deficit in the 12 months before the World Cup in France.


"That is why England need a performance of the calibre of their victories over the All Blacks in 2012 and 2019 when they meet at Twickenham for the first time in three years."


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