England assistant coach Andy Farrell has brushed aside claims from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen that the tourists had tried and failed to match their high-paced game.
And he still backs his team to take the All Blacks on at high pace when the situation calls for it.
Hansen said on Thursday England were in a quandary ahead of tonight's third test at Waikato Stadium after taking on the All Blacks in Dunedin's second test playing a game at real pace and having worked out they couldn't.
He speculated they would resort to more of a kicking game tonight as a result.
"Well we didn't try and slow the game down in the first test [as previously claimed by Hansen] anyway, which they thought was our tactics, and now they say we're trying to speed the game up and can't do that," Farrell said in Hamilton yesterday.
But the former rugby union/league international said the reality was each game always took its own path.
"We've got to be in control of our own game and we want to play quick at the right times.
"You've [also] got to be composed at the right times and slow things down when needed to suit yourself."
Handling and kicking errors often dictated the flow of a match and it was up to England to minimise those so they could play at the pace they wanted to at the time rather than allowing the All Blacks to control that.
"We'll be ready for either," said Farrell, who answered "of course" when quizzed whether he still felt England could take New Zealand on at the pace game.
Farrell said for England tonight's test was all about performance against the best team in the world despite it being a dead rubber.
"It's about learning from past performances and knowing how to grab hold of the game by the scruff of the neck and take it all the way to a victory."
Farrell said the senior players returning to the lineup like Dylan Hartley, Ben Youngs and Courtney Lawes, in particular, had taken ownership and were leading a highly motivated charge in the buildup.
It was a case of absorbing the lessons from the first two tests.
"Our performances have put ourselves in a place to win both tests and we've not quite got over the line and the main reason for that in my opinion is that we're playing against a side that's been there and done that."
England have been forced to make an eighth change to their starting lineup for tonight with standout lock Geoff Parling ruled out with a hamstring injury and replaced in the starting XV by Joe Launchbury with Dave Attwood coming on to the bench.
"It's a big loss for us but we've got good cover in that position and we've got a couple of hungry boys waiting for us to do the job tomorrow," Farrell said.
- Waikato Times
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