Lewis Moody on England v New Zealand: Fortress Twickenham faces its ultimate test on Saturday and England must be sharper to withstand the ruthless All Blacks

The home side have produced two good halves out of four with Australia and Argentina

You can't complain about an autumn that has so far produced two wins from two – and that is now six in a row at Twickenham. So Stuart Lancaster's England are without doubt building a home fortress like the coach wants, but what is not clear yet is just how formidable that fortress is, and that is something this weekend will go some way to establishing.

The injury list does muddy the picture a little. Any side would miss the likes of Alex Corbisiero, Mako Vunipola as well as, among others, Manu Tuilagi and Tom Croft, but New Zealand will always be a benchmark and the absentees will certainly give Lancaster an idea as to whether he has the depth of squad he craves.

England, as they admit themselves, have produced two good halves out of their four against Australia and Argentina. So what needs to be better against the All Blacks? They have to improve on their execution of the skills. Last Saturday they were admirably keen to play the expansive game they had rehearsed in training, to get into the wide channels and play as quickly as possible. They did that in the first half but in the second there were loose balls, misses, mistakes and opportunities went begging. They cannot afford to do that this Saturday.

It is good to see a keenness to move the ball but they have to be sharper. With Billy Twelvetrees, a player who likes to gets his hands on the ball and distribute, at 12 it gives England two fly-half opportunities. That worked much better last weekend at getting the ball wide but what was lacking was some direct running. The ball was moved quickly along the line to the edges, but there was not anyone cutting hard lines back infield to hold the defenders – that creates the opportunities for when you get out to the wings. New Zealand will give you those edges to play in, their wingers tend to sit back a bit, so if you can get some hard running from the centres, or Billy Vunipola or the second rows running lines in midfield, it is going to hold those defenders in and create opportunities out wide.

I would love to see Ben Foden and Mike Brown get more ball and more opportunities to attack, while having two full-backs against a team like New Zealand has another advantage. The All Blacks kick the ball more than any other side. There is a perception of New Zealand that they run it all the time and play amazing rugby. Yes, they play amazing rugby but it is because they are clinical and know how to take opportunities that arise. When they kick they kick to regain – they are looking for the opponents to return it to touch and then they get control of the game, or they put it high and contest it, so having Foden and Brown to deal with the high ball will help England.

This is a big game for two partnerships in the backs – the centres and the half-backs. Twelvetrees bounced back well against Argentina. It was an impressive show of mental strength after his performance against Australia and he needs to up his game even further on Saturday. We need to see more of Joel Tomkins too, getting him into the game more – via Twelvetrees or Owen Farrell – so he can use that dangerous offload. It is a huge game for the midfield two, as it is for Farrell and Lee Dickson. I would prefer to see Ben Youngs start because he brings more unpredictability and attacking threat but Dickson has been consistent and has bossed his pack well. Like Tomkins, though, we need to see more of him in attack.

One of the big positives against Argentina was the dominance of the pack. The control the forwards exercised at the maul – against a side that have always been highly effective at destroying mauls and putting forward packs under pressure – was impressive. It is too easy as an individual to break out from a maul. Courtney Lawes and Chris Robshaw were in positions where they could have broken out and gone to deck or had a go themselves, but they were patient and let the forwards regroup around them, which set up the first try. The best teams have always been the patient teams.

That will be key against New Zealand, be patient and take your chance when it comes – that is what they do and it is why they are the best in the world. If a chance comes, bang, they take it. I have seen them defending, defending, defending, the turnover comes and they are away. They have an incredible ability to be clinical when an opportunity arises. We saw that against France on Saturday and have seen it on numerous occasions. That is why England have to be accurate, mind every play, mind every execution, whether it is passing or tackling or the defensive line – in that it will be interesting to see how they contest the breakdown. Against Argentina, England committed just one or two players at the breakdown; a year ago against the All Blacks they piled in and that helped set up the victory as they earned a number of key turnovers. I suspect they will go back to what they did last year but, whichever approach they choose, they must be clinical. New Zealand need only a sniff of an opportunity.

But as France showed at the weekend they are not out of reach, they can be beaten. On Saturday there is the chance to do what no England side has done in a decade and record back-to-back wins over the All Blacks. Do that and it really will be Fortress Twickenham.

This is not about Carter's 100th cap, his team want revenge

What can you say about Dan Carter other than he is the best? The All Blacks' No 10 is what he is – a consistent machine, collecting points, making opportunities, kicking out of hand, making the decisions – when to kick and when to run.

He is a complete player and has the intelligence to go with it. The quality fly-half always seems to have time on his side and makes the game look easy. No one makes it look as easy as Carter does.

But New Zealand are not here for Carter, despite what they might keep saying in public. There has been plenty in the papers from them saying they can't help thinking of Carter's big moment, his 100th cap, and that this return to Twickenham has nothing to do with revenge for what happened last year.

Don't believe if for a second. New Zealand are hungry for this. They hate losing. There is a huge amount of revenge in their minds, whether they admit it or not. That will be driving them this week.

Do they want to go out and have a performance for Dan Carter? I don't think so, and I don't think Carter would want that. They want to go out and win because they expect to go out and win every time.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before