Watch England vs New Zealand live on Sky Sports Action on Saturday from 2pm
By Tony Tighe
Last Updated: 08/11/18 9:40pm
Courtney Lawes knows what it takes to beat the All Blacks and says England are capable of causing an upset on Saturday.
Lawes was a member of the British and Irish Lions side that beat New Zealand in last year’s second Test in Wellington, while he also featured in England’s last win over the Kiwis in 2012.
Like those two matches, Lawes will look to play the role of impact player at Twickenham after being named among the replacements on his return from a back injury.
England are major underdogs against the back-to-back world champions but Lawes says there are chinks in the All Blacks’ armour that they can exploit.
The Northampton forward told Sky Sports News: “They’re not unbeatable. In a sport like this you see every week that anybody can win on any given day.
New Zealand are a great team, they’re also going to most likely score, but if you can maximise your defence and your attack then you’ve always got a good shot.
“I don’t even think it’s necessarily a fact that we’ve got to get lucky to win or have got to have an unbelievable day. We’ve certainly got all the quality in the team that we need.
“We just need to be able to put it together on the day, make some good decisions and bring that right intensity to get us ahead.”
England vs New Zealand
November 10, 2018, 2:00pm
Lawes could extend his unbeaten streak against New Zealand to three games on Saturday, having featured in that Lions win in Wellington and also the drawn third Test.
So, what did the Lions get right that England must try to replicate on Saturday?
“You’ve just got to execute your gameplan,” he said. “You need to have the right intensity, and be able to have a cool enough head with that intensity to convert pressure into points, take your opportunities and ultimately put scores on the board.
“New Zealand are a great team, they’re also going to most likely score, but if you can maximise your defence and your attack then you’ve always got a good shot.”
Having missed the summer series defeat in South Africa due to injury, Lawes also sat out last weekend’s win over the Springboks because of a back problem.
However, the 29-year-old trained all this week without any issues and replaces Zach Mercer on the bench.
He plans on producing his usual physicality when introduced but has been working hard on other areas of his game.
“My main focus is physicality, carrying ball and defence, but I work hard at my lineout,” he said.
“I think I’m a pretty decent lineout forward and am also working very hard on my ball handling.
“Flat out running, footwork and then putting other people in holes – I think I’ve been doing that quite well for Saints this year.”