Kay names 2005 All Blacks as toughest side he has faced

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English lock Ben Kay, who played 62 Tests between 2001-09, hasn't forgotten. He said the All Blacks of that year were the toughest team he played in his Test career.

 

Kay told joe.co.uk, "I remember, and this is a long time ago and us having this conversation, having a chat with Martin Johnson, who was there [with the Lions in 1993]. He didn't play [in 2005], but he said that was the best New Zealand team he had ever seen.

 

"Now, maybe it's been surpassed since then, but certainly the quality of that team was out of this world."

 

Kay said there was a feeling before the Test series that it was going to be tough.

 

"Then, with that first Test performance, we were blown away.

 

"Then, obviously, the Dan Carter game in Wellington as well. Everything clicked for them, but I believe that that was them at their best. But I'm sure there are a lot of Kiwi fans that disagree," he said.

 

However, his memories of playing the All Blacks weren't all bad.

 

 

Kay was part of Clive Woodward's England team that came to New Zealand early in the 2003 season to play World Cup warm-up games against the All Blacks and Australia before returning home for a short break and getting into the World Cup preparation.

 

"The win against New Zealand, when we went down to six men [in the pack] was big.

 

"There would always have been people saying, 'Well, you can beat them at Twickenham when you're nice and comfortable', but we went down to New Zealand and Australia.

 

"Playing away from home and at the end of our season, when you're knackered and they are meant to be at their prime.

 

"Beating them in those circumstances, and Australia as well, I think that sort of sent a psychological signal to everyone in the world," he said.

 

And that paid off when England returned to claim the World Cup later that year in Australia.

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