Ben Youngs sees ABs test as an opportunity
England halfback Ben Youngs sees this weekend's All Blacks test as an opportunity to be taken.
Common sense suggest that as England have lost to Australia and South Africa in the past two weekends, they won't record a victory over the All Blacks, but Youngs sees Sunday's game as a challenge, believing England have built towards this fixture.
"We're all very competitive players," Youngs said.
"We want to win and it hasn't quite happened yet, but I strongly believe that because of the culture we've got in this squad and the huge amount of belief, that we'll go out there, really express ourselves and take the game to New Zealand.
"What a huge opportunity for all of us individually and as a side to play against the world champions at home and see where we're at.
"It is a great opportunity for myself to play against either Piri Weepu or Aaron Smith.
"These are the games you look forward to the most and everyone has got the mind set of rolling up their sleeves and seeing how they go.
"Collectively we've spoken about it and there is nothing but excitement. It's not very often you play New Zealand at home and we're all putting our focus into it.
"Obviously we're addressing the things that didn't go right at the weekend, but there were a huge amount of good things, the breakdown was a massive area where we made improvements."
Like many halfbacks, Youngs is a big talker and for the moment he is above Danny Care in England's pecking order at No 9.
It is a position that no player has been able to make his own for any great length of time since the retirement of Matt Dawson.
Youngs should get the nod over Care again this weekend, repeating the selection decision from the last time England played the All Blacks, at Twickenham two years ago.
New Zealand won comfortably 26-16 that day, but that game hasn't led to Youngs fearing the All Blacks. "It's not fear, it's only opportunity," he said.
"Obviously New Zealand are the No 1 side in the world and we're currently fourth. People would say that they're the strongest team and for us it's only opportunity, what a great chance to play against this side.
"There is no fear or going into our shells, it's about really having a go at the best team and I've got no doubt that if we get things right we've got a big performance in us.
"It has slowly been coming, there have been glimpses of it and I'm sure if we get it right for 80 minutes we'll challenge any team."