Robinson 'must look overseas' to match best in world

Click to follow

Sean Fitzpatrick, the former New Zealand hooker, has told England to copy the All Blacks if they want to retain the World Cup in two years' time.

England face their sternest challenge this year against the rampant All Blacks tomorrow and Fitzpatrick is convinced that the England coach, Andy Robinson, must learn from his New Zealand counterparts or face a rude awakening at the World Cup in France in 2007.

"England need to look outside their own shores," he said. "That's what New Zealand have done and look at us now. It's not something we do very well as we are very arrogant and think we are the best in the world. But Henry has learnt his trade in England and has said that to be the best side in the world he needed to use the strengths of northern hemisphere rugby.

"Two years ago the northern hemisphere was dominating at the set piece. But the All Blacks have learnt how to compete at the ruck and the breakdown, as well as improving in the scrum and on line-outs, and that added to the pace, which is the key."

The tourists are attempting to become the first All Blacks to complete a Grand Slam over the four home nations since Graham Mourie's side in 1978.

Henry has made it clear the 2007 World Cup remains his major objective and 92-cap Fitzpatrick insisted the whole nation is firmly behind him. He said: "For Graham the World Cup is the main goal and that has been made clear from the start. He has convinced us as fans that it is OK to lose the odd game en route to the ultimate goal.

"I think he knows what his strongest team are and they will line up against England - it is just a case of having cover for injuries. When they lose key players, most international teams fall over and Graham doesn't want that to happen. We have notoriously peaked too early for the last 20 years and have failed to win the World Cup, but the young players and the depth we now have means that is unlikely."

Fitzpatrick made it clear just how important the Grand Slam remains. "For the All Blacks to win the Grand Slam over here would be something very dear ," he said. "In 12 years I didn't achieve it and when they do it will be great."

Comments