All Blacks loom large for eager English tourists

Last updated 05:01 05/01/2014

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England captain Chris Robshaw believes tackling the All Blacks in New Zealand this year will be the perfect leadup to the World Cup.

Robshaw is pumped at the prospect of taking on the All Blacks in their own backyard over three tests in June.

Beating the All Blacks in 2012 and pushing them again at Twickenham last November - New Zealand won 30-22 - has given England real belief that they are closing in on the world No 1 team ahead of the next World Cup in England in 2015.

England want the Six Nations trophy back off Wales but Robshaw knows the tour down under is ticking away in the background.

"That's going to be a very tough assignment, but it's the kind of competition we will need in the leadup to the World Cup," Robshaw said.

"I believe we are on course to have a real go at winning the World Cup. This summer is going to be our most challenging tour. There will be no hiding place.

"I firmly believe we will be ready and up to the huge prospect of facing the world champions in their own back yard.

"The important thing is to make sure everyone enjoys playing in such a tough environment and fronts up to everything.

"We're in a good place, but New Zealand are the No 1 team and the benchmark for world rugby.

"The difference between them and the rest is how clinical they are."

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- Sunday Star Times

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