England confident they're capable of upset

DAVID LONG IN BAGSHOT
Last updated 11:00 28/11/2012
Andy Farrell
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ANDY FARRELL: Says his side is more than capable of beating the All Blacks if they can continue the form they showed against the Springboks.

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Assistant coach Andy Farrell says England can cause an upset by matching the intensity they displayed against the Springboks last weekend.

England lost 16-15 to South Africa, a defeat not helped by the poor captaincy of Chris Robshaw, who went for a penalty kick with two minutes to go when trailing by four points.

While there was huge disappointment initially about losing the test, on reflection Farrell said it was a good performance and the team are high on confidence going into Sunday's test.

"They are in a great place," Farrell said of the players.

"They have played against two very good teams, nearly come good against a good Australian side that played well on the day.

"The South African game, we were the best team. There is the old cliché that they got the points on the board but, you can't not be in a good place when you review the game in its entirety and see what it's all about.

"Other than in a couple of areas where we'd like to improve, we dominated. In the conditions and circumstances of what we were up against, we were taking the game to a very good side that's not lost for a while.

"They're a team that had won games at a canter and if you take all of that in to its entirety, how can you not be in a good place?

"Sometimes you win these tight games and sometimes you lose them and it just so happens that it's been the second loss against two good teams, but it could have easily been the other way round."

The test for England now, according to Farrell, is to play to that standard against the All Blacks.

"If you produce the same intensity and intent, you'd like to think that you'd be in any test match," he said.

"We know we gave a bloody good account of ourselves, there is no doubt about that, but when you play the side that's the best in the world by quite some margin, you know you've got to step up a level."

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is held in as much esteem in England as he is in New Zealand, one of the broadsheet newspapers dedicated a full page to a feature on him yesterday, with a convenient plug for his book included at the bottom.

England fear what McCaw and the other loose forwards do at the breakdown and Farrell says they're ahead of the rest of the world in the way they attack it.

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"What the All Blacks do is very smart," he said.

"They have grown up over the last few years where they're not just piling bodies into the breakdown and making it a mess, they're accurate with their decisions.

"It is a bit different to last weekend [against South Africa], Richie McCaw has become the master of biding his time, letting it unfold and then pouncing to make what he does at the breakdown accurate.

"We've got to make sure we're accurate on the ball, like any other team, when we get fast ball and continuity, we get over the gain line and can do some damage."

- Stuff

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