All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu refuses to underestimate England

Last Updated: 01/12/12 2:24pm

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Keven Mealamu believes New Zealand will be facing the toughest test of their autumn tour when they tackle England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The All Blacks are currently on a 20-match unbeaten run and have accounted for Scotland, Italy and Wales during their European jaunt.

England, on the other hand, have suffered narrow defeats to Australia and South Africa in the last two weeks - with their sole success coming against Fiji.

Keven Mealamu interview

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Despite the contrast in form between the two opponents, Mealamu, back in the side after fellow hooker Andrew Hore was suspended for five weeks, insists the All Blacks are taking nothing for granted.

"I think they've had some good patches in the last couple of game that we've seen," Mealamu told Sky Sports.

"I know it is going to be different for us given all the history we have between each other.

"We know both teams will raise their performances. We know we will be facing the best team we've faced on tour."


England fly-half Owen Farrell joined All Blacks Richie McCaw and Dan Carter on the nomination list for the IRB Player of Year award.

However Mealamu insists the All Blacks will not be targeting individual players at Twickenham.

"We try to look at it as a team," he added.

"We see where they will try to attack us and slow us down. We don't look at individuals, just how they attack as a team or defend as a team."

Carter will go head-to-head with Farrell in an intriguing battle between to old master and the young pretender.

And Mealamu is delighted to welcome back Carter after he missed the 33-10 win over Wales.

"It is a huge boost to have DC back in the side," he added. "I am sure he wasn't too far away from playing last week but wasn't 100 per cent.

"It will be good to get him back out there, I know he is raring to go and really excited to be playing at Twickenham."

Keven Mealamu was speaking from Regents Park where the All Blacks surprised children from the West London Free School with a training session appearance with Air New Zealand.

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