England v New Zealand: Stuart Lancaster expecting contest to be won and lost at the breakdown

The England head coach also hopes that the capacity Twickenham crowd will carry his team to victory against the world champions

Stuart Lancaster has braced England for an epic battle at the breakdown in Saturday's QBE International against New Zealand.

It was an area of the game dominated by the Red Rose when the All Blacks were overwhelmed 38-21 last December in one of the most remarkable fixtures ever witnessed at Twickenham.

Lancaster knows only a performance of similar ferocity will be enough to challenge the world champions

"The intensity and competitiveness of how the breakdown is attacked, both defensively and offensively, is one of the big differences between club and international rugby," he said.

"So we have to make sure we are on our money in that area, without a doubt.

"They have some outstanding players in that area who are very smart as well in terms of knowing when to compete and when not to. It's a big part of the game."

Lancaster insists it is critical England avoid becoming too caught up in the occasion before it has arrived, forcing him to strike a careful balance in the week's preparations.

"We are in our home stadium in front of 80,000 people and the atmosphere is going to be unbelievable," he said.

"That's why you don't want to play the game too early in the week - the emotion will look after itself come Saturday I'm sure.

"It's not about dragging them players down, but just not building them up too early.

"For different games, you use different ways to get the right level of emotion.

"Too much of it and you burn out before the game or you can't deal with the game itself, too little and you under-perform.

"Part of the art of coaching is getting that at the right point.

"We managed to do that in a lot of the games we played last year - perhaps one or two we didn't."

PA

 

 

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