July 21, 2024

International rugby returns to Sky Sports this summer as England, Ireland and Wales travel to face the might of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia in two-Test tours…Record defeat will lift World Cup pressure off All Blacks, says Foster |  Reuters

England seek first win over All Blacks on Kiwi soil for 21 years

Not since 2003 and the summer prior to England’s greatest day in rugby union have the nation picked up a Test victory against the All Blacks in New Zealand.

Back then, Clive Woodward’s outstanding squad of players travelled to the southern hemisphere and beat New Zealand 15-13 in Wellington, and then Australia in Melbourne as crucial preparation ahead of the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia – a tournament they would go on to win, of course.

There have been 18 Tests between the sides in the two decades since, set in New Zealand, Twickenham and neutral venues, with England having only won two (November 2012, 2019 World Cup semi-final).

Seven of those 18 match-ups have taken place in New Zealand for seven All Black victories (2-0 series win in 2004, 2-0 series win in 2008, 3-0 series win in 2014), but perhaps now is England’s best chance to travel south and pick up a marquee win again.

A poor start under Steve Borthwick which saw England finish fourth in the 2023 Six Nations after three defeats, and lose 2023 Rugby World Cup warm-up Tests to Wales and Fiji, has given way to a far more positive outlook following the 2024 Six Nations.

Denying Andy Farrell’s Ireland the chance of successive Grand Slams felt like a turning point for Borthwick’s team, dominating the game against a first-class opponent, and looking to play rugby on the front foot as opposed to employing negative tactics.

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