New era of All Blacks aims to make a statement against England

AB training

Under new coaching direction and leadership, the All Blacks camp is full of energy as they prepare to face an early measure of their potential against a rising England team in fast conditions under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Second five-eighths and co-vice-captain Jordie Barrett said the important thing for the players was ensuring the energy was harnessed correctly.

It will need to be against an England team primed after a comfortable 52-17 win over Japan and after a strong Six Nations season.

"They are a strong side. They played awesome against Ireland and France and put points on Japan.

"They're going to bring a bit of line speed. They've got [first five-eighths] Marcus Smith and a few other guys who ignite their backline, and any momentum they get, they'll play on top. Under the roof will suit the way they are heading as a team."

Andrew Strawbridge, who was part of the All Blacks camp last year, is now with England, but Barrett said that was the nature of rugby.

"Straws is a very intricate thinker of the game and was a great coach when he was in here."

But that would not affect the All Blacks' thinking.

"We're just going about our work, preparing as best we can. We're focused on trying to get the first Test right, which is very important for this group, and where we want to go."

Barrett is confident the All Blacks will be ready despite it being their first game.

"This part of the week, a lot of it's about getting what we need to get right. But tomorrow and Thursday the scope will go on."

Taking on a vice-captaincy role was an honour.

"It's excitingly phased ahead for me where I think I'll get a lot of growth and it's going to be a great phase, so I'm loving it."

He is accompanied on the squad this year by Hurricanes teammate Billy Proctor, who has spent a lot of time with him in the camp.

"He's got a smile that can't be wiped off his face, it's so cool to see, and he's trained very well. That's everything you expect of Billy, ultra-consistent and a great bloke."


View all