Cul­ture clash looms at Twick­en­ham

The Nation - - SPORT -

“STYLES MAKE fights” is usu­ally the talk of box­ing pro­mot­ers but it could prove true of Eng­land’s long-awaited clash against world cham­pi­ons New Zealand at Twick­en­ham on Satur­day.

Eng­land coach Ed­die Jones has of­ten in­sisted that try­ing to play the All Blacks at their own run­ning from deep, pass­ing game is a recipe for de­feat, so the Aus­tralian is likely to again cham­pion the team’s strengths of a pow­er­ful for­ward pack and solid set piece.

And All Blacks coach Steve Hansen ac­cepted there would be merit in the home side play­ing to their strengths.

“There’s a lot of talk about south­ern hemi­sphere rugby be­ing very free-flow­ing with a lot of tries scored, but in this part of the world, maybe be­cause the en­vi­ron­ment is dif­fer­ent, the weather is dif­fer­ent, there is a ne­ces­sity to play a tighter game,” said Hansen.

How­ever, the ex­pe­ri­enced Jones also knows the virtue of adapt­abil­ity.

It was a trait Eng­land, then coached by Stu­art Lan­caster, showed in the last of just their seven wins over the All Blacks six years ago. Lead­ing 12-0 at the break cour­tesy of four Owen Farrell penal­ties, they ran in three sec­ond-half tries through Brad Bar­ritt, Chris Ash­ton and Manu Tuilagi in a 38-21 tri­umph.

Dash­ing wing Ash­ton will make his first Test start in four years but the in­jury-prone Tuilagi’s long wait for an Eng­land re­call has been de­layed again by a groin prob­lem.

The Twick­en­ham clash is the high­light of an­other bumper week­end of au­tumn in­ter­na­tion­als, with Eu­rope host­ing a to­tal of six games.

Psy­cho­log­i­cal one-up­man­ship will be up for grabs when Wales host Aus­tralia on Satur­day in a dress re­hearsal of what has been billed a poold­e­cid­ing match at next year’s Rugby World Cup.

The two sides will clash on Septem­ber 29, 2019, at Tokyo Sta­dium in what many reckon will be the game that de­cides the win­ner of a Pool D that also in­cludes Fiji, Ge­or­gia and Uruguay.

So there is all to play for at Cardiff ’s Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium, not least to boost con­fi­dence lev­els and test squads’ strength in depth.

A one-off Test is al­ways im­por­tant but when France and South Africa line up in Paris on Satur­day, win­ning on the night will not be the only item on the agenda.

Like Wales and Aus­tralia, both sides al­ready have one eye on the next World Cup and at­tempt­ing to find a way to chal­lenge the All Blacks.

Six Na­tions Grand Slam cham­pi­ons Ire­land host Ar­gentina in a one-off Test at Lans­downe Road in Dublin.

The Ir­ish will see this as a tough ex­am­i­na­tion ahead of next week’s clash of the top two sides in the world: them­selves and New Zealand.

A calf prob­lem has ruled Italy cap­tain Ser­gio Parisse out of the team for Satur­day’s Test against Ge­or­gia in Florence.

Italy coach Conor O’Shea has reshuf­fled his pack with Bram Steyn tak­ing the 35-year-old flanker’s place.

Winger Chris Ash­ton, an Eng­land scorer against the All Blacks in 2012, is back on Satur­day.

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