Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Must Show No Fear, Say England

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Must Show No Fear, Say England

Article excerpt

Byline: By Andrew Baldock

Iain Balshaw has urged England to show "no fear" when they face the most daunting prospect in world rugby ( stopping New Zealand.

Despite their status as world champions, England will go into battle in front of a record 82,000 Twickenham crowd on Sunday as 5/2 underdogs.

A team containing three new caps ( Wasps wing Paul Sackey, Gloucester centre Anthony Allen and Bristol scrum-half Shaun Perry ( must try to halt an All Blacks juggernaut on a seemingly unstoppable march towards World Cup glory next year. England have lost a dozen players through injury, while New Zealand arrived in London earlier this week with arguably their strongest possible squad.

Recent form should hardly inspire red rose supporters either, with the home side striving to avoid a sixth successive Test defeat which would represent their worst results sequence since 1972.

Gloucester full-back Balshaw accepts the odds are stacked against England, but he knows they cannot afford to sit back and allow New Zealand to dictate.

"We are confident," he insisted. "There are a lot of lads playing for their clubs who are on form, which is a positive thing. Going into this game, we have got to be positive and confident, because I think the moment you are not against the All Blacks in particular, you have probably lost before you even take the field.

"The minute you sit back and let them play, or take your foot of the gas or doubt yourselves, then they win.

"We are underdogs. The All Blacks have brought their strongest squad, and they are the best team in the world at moment, there is no doubting that. But we have got to show no fear, go out there and give it our best shot. If we play our best, they play their best and they come out on top, then all credit to them."

Robinson, meanwhile, can only hope his preparations are not hit by any further injury setbacks. …

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