Tue. Feb 25th, 2020

England target the breakdown as the key to stopping the All Blacks

England want to limit the amount of attacking opportunities they give to the dangerous All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup semifinal.

england target the breakdown as the key to stopping the all blacks 1024x668 - England target the breakdown as the key to stopping the All Blacks

England fullback Elliot Daly says his team have been working tirelessly on the breakdown in preparation for facing the All Blacks in the first Rugby World Cup semifinal.

The Roses already deploy two breakdown menaces in Sam Underhill and Tom Curry both are archetypal modern number 7s but the latter has adjusted well to his new role at 6.

England ready for the All Blacks

Daly said that England worked hard in training to ensure they are prepared to limit the All Blacks attacking options.

“The speed of the breakdown last week caused us a bit of a problem. On the edge (of our defence) we were a bit soft, but we have addressed that. It all comes down to working as a group.

“It is not just the outside backs, it is the inside backs putting pressure on as well. We have worked hard on that this week. The pace of the ball last week put us under pressure.

“The way we have been building over the last couple of weeks has been really good. The way we have trained between matches has been intense and good preparation for the test matches. We are all excited for what could come our way tomorrow (Saturday).”

Peaking at the right time

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KOBE, JAPAN – SEPTEMBER 26: Elliot Daly of England is tackled by Blaine Scully of USA during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group C game between England and USA at Kobe Misaki Stadium on September 26, 2019 in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

England haven’t really been tested at the Rugby World Cup, putting away Tonga, the USA and Argentina with ease before Typhoon Hagibis caused a World Cup edition of Le Crunch to be called off. In the last eight Australia’s bizarre tactics played right into England’s hands and the match was settled early in the second half. Daly believes that England are ready to step-up the intensity to match RWC favourites, the All Blacks. The fullback believes this England squad is the most united group he has played in.

“Playing against the All Blacks, you have to anticipate everything,” he said. 

“They have some quality players who may think differently to other teams. It is about anticipating on the run and making sure you are always in the game.

“We talk about togetherness all the time and I haven’t felt this together in any team I have played in. We are having fun on and off the pitch and hopefully that shows in the games.”

Daly says that each member of this England team knows what they need to do to be in the best space come match day.

“The good thing about last weekend (against Australia) is we built really nicely towards the game, and individually we got ourselves ready,” he said. “It wasn’t a team thing thinking, ‘let’s go for this game now’, we were all at the right point come game time.

“Everyone in the team knows what they need to do to get to that level. We don’t want to let anybody down.”

England team vs All Blacks

1. Mako Vunipola

2. Jamie George

3. Kyle Sinckler

4. Maro Itoje

5. Courtney Lawes

6. Tom Curry

7. Sam Underhill

8. Billy Vunipola

9. Ben Youngs

10. George Ford

11. Jonny May

12. Owen Farrell (capt.)

13. Manu Tuilagi

14. Anthony Watson

15. Elliot Daly

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie

17. Joe Marler

18. Dan Cole

19. George Kruis

20. Mark Wilson

21. Willi Heinz

22. Henry Slade

23. Jonathan Joseph

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