Ioane looking forward to Tuilagi tussle

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While he was aware of Tuilagi's contribution to England's 19-7 semifinal win over the All Blacks at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, he was less familiar with his role in the 38-21 2012 win at Twickenham – the highest score record for England against New Zealand.

"It's obviously a big challenge and I'm expecting his best because that's what we're coming with on Saturday and I wouldn't expect anything less. I know he's a quality player so I'm expecting his best.

Ioane said when the schedule was announced the players all marked the England game, and the team wanted to finish the season strong against a good England side.

Substitute halfback TJ Perenara said playing England at Twickenham was special because it was something they didn't often get to do.

He remembered the finish to their 2018 game when he had a kick charged down. That led to a try being over-ruled because England's Courtney Lawes was offside for the charge down. He also remembered the 2019 World Cup semifinal loss, but apart from taking lessons from all losses the side suffered, they didn't look back at them.

"For us, we're about this job, learning from things that happened in the past - but if we're still holding onto things that happened in 2019, then we're holding ourselves back from growing."

Ioane said having been part of Beauden Barrett and Aaron Smith's 100th Tests, it was special to be on hand for lock Brodie Retallick, especially for a player in his position in the engine room, and 100 Tests was no mean feat.


Perenara said, "It's an awesome thing that he's achieved. He's had a few injuries that have stopped him getting to this milestone sooner, but he's an awesome man for our team, for our environment, and for him to be able to do that at Twickenham is special."

Being out of the side for all but the last two Tests of the season, Perenara wants to make the most of his opportunity.

He enjoyed being back in the environment and building the relationships he hadn't been able to do earlier.

"Probably the biggest thing for me to get used to - rugby is rugby in my eyes. If you get the opportunity to play in any team, and you understand how you want to play, and you understand the dynamics of the team, you can influence, and have impact, in any environment. So, I knew the rugby was going to be okay, it was spending the time with the boys making sure that I put the effort into being there for our connection."

He appreciated circumstances had allowed him to achieve a rare feat in the professional era. He had played club rugby and shared a Jubilee Cup win with Norths in Wellington, playing Bunnings NPC rugby to win the Ranfurly Shield and national championship, to play for the Māori All Blacks and the All Blacks.

"It will be a year of my career that I look back on fondly."


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