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VIDEO – All Blacks are beatable says fired-up Rowntree

13 November 2013

  • Rowntree says it is time for England pack to deliver
  • All Blacks are "human and beatable", says forwards coach

Graham Rowntree has thrown down the gauntlet to the England forwards to produce "the full package" against New Zealand on Saturday.

The emphasis has been on steady improvement ever since Stuart Lancaster assumed the reins in late 2011, with England continuing to put the building blocks together with one eye on the 2015 Rugby World Cup on home soil.

There have been further signs of progress this autumn, with QBE International wins against Australia and Argentina adding to early-year momentum punctured only by a heavy defeat in Cardiff in March. For forwards coach Rowntree, though, the time for his charges to put in a dynamic, 80-minute performance is now.

Joe Launchbury

Photo: Getty Images

"As a group we're always learning, but I don't want to be the young, learning pack forever," he said. "There's going to come a point when we've got to start dominating teams, and I honestly don't think we're that far off.

"We're learning within the game and we're learning week to week, but there's got to be a time soon when I want the full package from minute one.

"I was delighted with our maul to score [through Joe Launchbury on Saturday] because not many teams have done that to Argentina recently. Our aggression, our breakdown was pretty good. We did all that very well and we certainly weren't complacent at half-time.

"Then we went out in the third quarter and made a lot of errors that put us back in our own 22 too easily – 22 kick-off receipts; getting penalised for the back foot at the breakdown; we failed to stop a driving maul from Argentina initially and got penalised there. They all bank up."

Any such mistakes this weekend are likely to be seized upon by an All Blacks pack that continues to lead the way in most facets of the game.

Heading to Twickenham on the back of 12 straight Test triumphs, which included a 38-27 win against South Africa in a particularly epic encounter at Ellis Park, Steve Hansen's will be looking to raise the bar even higher.

Joe Marler, who started at loose-head prop against Australia

Photo: Getty Images

"They're able to play at real intensity and sustain it like many teams can't," explained Rowntree. "They hold good width and they play in a very aggressive manner – all of which we've got to match.

"They're quite a settled team; they've managed to bring in players and develop them without having to change whole blocks of the team. But they're human and I think they're beatable.

"We try and get after every pack and stop any dominance they may hope to achieve. The breakdown receives major attention from us every day because we've got to be cleaner in possession. On their ball we've got to give them what they don't want.

"I'm challenging the forward pack all this week to put in a consistent performance and reach the heights we're going to have to reach if we're going to beat this team at the weekend."