Legacy and Evolution: All Blacks Prepare for England Showdown

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Coaches and players may come and go, but two things remained constant for the All Blacks: the blackness of their jerseys and the silver fern.

Assistant coach Scott Hansen said there was always an expectation around representing New Zealand, and the players have been reminded of what the public expects of them. 

But there was an excitement for them in doing that.

He said that at the start of a campaign, there were always questions and a lot of information aimed at helping them understand the game they wanted to play.

"We need to be decisive so we want to take a lot of things away and make it clear what our game looks like.

"The players have been unreal around leading their areas, so we're expecting them all to walk forward together."

Hansen said England is a very good team. They are balanced across the board, and their forward pack is physical. They have a pressure game with an aerial attack.

"I enjoyed watching them during the Six Nations, in particular the Irish and French games. They showed a beautiful style of rugby so we excited to stand in front of that."

Test match success was about the All Blacks choosing their moments to unleash or regain lost momentum. Their game was concentrated around their set piece and their ability to create momentum and apply pressure.

That stayed the same, and they would look to their skill sets and ability to play through the forwards and find space with their backs.

The first Test of the year would be about embracing where the side is and evolving from that during the campaign.

"It's important for us to be decisive this weekend, that is what we should expect to see."

Key decisions remain in the choice of halfback and first five-eighths, and Hansen said decisions on who plays were based on the opposition's strengths and what opportunities might exist for particular players.

And choosing the type of game they wanted to play was a factor in their decision at first five-eighths.

Hansen said that working with Beauden Barrett for the first time impressed him with his calmness, clarity, and care for the group.

"He's a proud All Blacks and I've enjoyed being around him."

Coach Scott Robertson had been clear about his wants from his coaches and players.

"The boys are enjoying his energy. He's got very good captains and co-captains around him, and they're helping lead the team.

"Razor [Robertson] is someone we will follow."

Asked if they would bring elements from the Crusaders to the All Blacks, Hansen said, "We'll be ourselves. We'll see the game around what our lens and paradigm look like.

"There'll be good conversations around what that looks like for the All Blacks. We're embracing this challenge."

Find out where to watch the game around the world HERE. 


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