England want to answer critics says Moody

Lewis Moody insists England's wounded players are "chomping at the bit" to prove their army of critics wrong in tomorrow's final autumn showdown against New Zealand.

England have faced a barrage of criticism after an insipid performance in last weekend's 16-9 victory over Argentina followed an 18-9 defeat to Australia.



Former England players Josh Lewsey and Will Greenwood have both called for Martin Johnson's assistant coaches to be sacked while Steve Borthwick's position as captain has come under renewed scrutiny.



But Johnson has urged his squad to harness that criticism and take it out against the All Blacks, who arrive at Twickenham as the newly-installed number one team in the world.



Moody said: "We would be the first people to say that our form last week wasn't good enough and we have to improve on that massively.



"We go into the game as underdogs but we will be chomping at the bit to try to put things right.



"The anxious energy is fizzing at the moment. When anyone is criticised you want to go back at them and show them why that's not the case.



"For us it is about being a team. It is about going out there and leaving no stone unturned on the pitch. You never question an England's team's effort.



"We have just got to go out there and put twice as much passion and pride on the line as we do normally.



"This is the last game of the autumn series and you always want to go out with a bang and we will be making sure we will be crossing every bridge to be there."

Despite Moody's determination, and that of the 21 others tasked with facing the All Blacks, there is no disguising how big a challenge they face.

Only once in seven Tests since England won the World Cup in 2003 have they come at all close to beating New Zealand, with a ferociously physical performance in 2005 that pushed the All Blacks to the brink.



Andy Robinson's England ultimately fell short four years ago as New Zealand clung on in the dying minutes with only 13 players on the field to secure a 23-19 victory.



During that run of seven consecutive All Black victories, Dan Carter has scored more points on his own than England have managed altogether.



"The All Blacks are still one of the teams to beat in Test match rugby. How many times have they lost in Britain and Ireland over the last 50 years? Not many," said Johnson.



"Any Test against the All Blacks is very special. It would be nice to have a great performance. That is what we strive to do.



"There is a level of frustration amongst us as a group that we haven't put together a level of consistency in the game.



"No-one likes getting criticised but you put your neck on the line when you go out and play and coach.



"It does get to you but hopefully the players can harness that.



"We can't affect what has happened over the last two weeks but this is a chance to play the All Blacks and we can do something about it."



Johnson has been impressed by the character of his England side in what he admits has been a "tough week" and they are gearing up for another full-frontal physical assault on the All Blacks.



Simon Shaw and Joe Worsley have been recalled to the pack while Johnson has opted for the direct presence of Ayoola Erinle instead of Shane Geraghty at inside centre.



As the sole playmaker, Jonny Wilkinson needs to be spot on with his kicking game because the All Blacks back three can rip any defence to shreds on the counter-attack.



England have picked a side to run hard and straight with the ball and to try and pressurise Carter into standing deeper in position, earning their defence precious extra time to react.



But that ferocity must be well channelled. Twelve months ago, England had four players sent to the sin-bin as they crashed to a record home defeat to the All Blacks.



And Carter, who needs only two points to overtake Andrew Mehrtens as the leading All Blacks points scorer, will lap up any chance to make England's indiscipline pay.



"We need to be competitive at the breakdown because if we let them dominate that area, we will come second," said Johnson.



"But as ever it is a balance. If you give penalties away that will be possession, territory and points. We need to be smart, accurate and physical.



"If you win by a point it goes on the list of times you beat the All Blacks, which is not a long list."



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions