Rowntree promises English attacking sparks

RICHARD KNOWLER IN DUNEDIN
Last updated 14:44 13/06/2014
Graham Rowntree
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
BOLD CALL: England forwards coach Graham Rowntree is predicting plenty of attacking spark from his side.

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They are hardly renowned for their bold attacking ethos, yet Graham Rowntree says England cannot wait to fill Dunedin's enclosed stadium with their vapour trails tomorrow night.

Forwards coach Rowntree has scoffed at suggestions that England's best chance of bowling the All Blacks at the Forsyth Barr Stadium is to reduce the tempo of the match.

After holding their captain's run at the ground this morning his men were excited about the prospect of playing on a dry track that has traditionally encouraged teams to fling the ball around.

"We want to play quick,'' Rowntree emphasised. "I was alarmed at some of the comments that say we want to slow the game down, in the press this week; we want to play quick.

"We have got a lightning quick backline and a dynamic pack of forwards.''

The tourists may want to play fast but they are still likely to play within the tight structures that were on display in the first test in Auckland.

Rather than get stuck anywhere behind their own halfway line they will keep trying to push the All Blacks towards their own try line with Owen Farrell kicking for space and then squeeze them with their efficient lineout and scrum.

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England's lineout was in perfect working order at Eden Park and on several occasions their other set-piece edge also had the edge on the All Blacks.

The All Blacks, too, are relishing the chance to play under the roof and if England to come to the party and try to get the ball wide to their back three of Marland Yarde, Manu Tuilagi and Mike Brown it could be an entertaining spectacle.

"You want to keep every tool available but we certainly want to play quick and that stadium will suit us tomorrow,'' Rowntree enthused.

"We are also very fit as well.''

The All Blacks haven't hesitated in criticising themselves following their 20-15 win in the first test and coach Steve Hansen this week said if he had to drop every player that played poorly he wouldn't have names left on his team sheet.

Given that they were missing chunk of their first-string players, because of their late arrival following the domestic club final, England weren't expected to get near the New Zealanders.

Now they have been strengthened by the return of Luther Burrell, Billy Twelvetrees, Danny Care (back from injury), Tom Wood and Farrell they have reason to feel confident.

Rowntree had good reason to be buzzing as he watched the English forwards show such commitment at the breakdowns in Auckland but he stated that performance needed to be repeated.

"This group now set very high standards and I certainly do. I set very high standards for the forward pack and we are not quite hitting them standards consistently.

"If we just concentrate on those things we can control a lot better we will be a lot better. We know a lot has been said about the New Zealand performance last and how frustrated they are.

"They are going to be better, that's for sure. So our game has got to come up.''

- Stuff

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