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England 14:30 New Zealand

Grewcock: Take your chances

By Mark Kendall.   Last Updated: 03/11/06 9:17am

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Danny Grewcock is hopeful England will learn from the mistakes of last year's defeat to New Zealand when they once again take on the All Blacks at Twickenham this Sunday.

The tourists will start this weekend's encounter as red-hot favourites, but that was the same story 12 months ago when they were somewhat fortunate to emerge as 23-19 victors.

The turning point of that game proved to be England's inability to punish their opponents when they were temporarily reduced to 13 men having had two players sin-binned.

Bath second-rower Grewcock, who will win his 65th cap on Sunday, insists he and his team-mates must take full advantage of the opportunities that come their way this time around if they are to have any chance of springing an upset.

"We have to learn the lesson from last year where we lost the game when New Zealand had a couple of guys in the sin-bin and we still didn't capitalise," he explained.

"The big thing for us is that if we get these opportunities, then we have to make sure we get the points.

"There are not too many weaknesses in this New Zealand team, and we are obviously looking at the videos trying to find any small areas we can exploit."

Despite the odds being stacked against them, confidence remains high in the England camp with offensive coach Brian Ashton convinced his troops can turn the form book on its head.

"All the players are very positive, and they have the belief which is essential when you are up against as good a side as New Zealand, the former Bath coach stated.

"I was encouraged by the number of line breaks we made on the summer tour in the first Test against Australia, but we must capitalise on them more, as and when they come on Sunday.

"I've been working with the players and helping them change their mindset for this game, and we are working with a stronger squad than we had in the summer because a number of players who weren't available for that tour are now.

"There are positive signs the players are communicating better, and I am happy with that."


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