Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from New Zealand’s year-end tour.
All Blacks set to honour legend in style
Having seen off the challenges of Scotland, Ireland and Wales with relative ease, only England now stand in the way of the All Blacks claiming their second Grand Slam in three years.
Along with the Grand Slam, New Zealand will also be contesting the Hillary shield which commemorates the links formed between the two countries by Sir Edmund Hillary.
“The Hillary Shield will be important,” said All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen. “It’s the first time we are going to play for it. He’s a very great man in New Zealand culture and he helped put us on the map really.
“I’m sure someone will be tasked with informing us all about what he has done, where he has done it and the relationship between us and England. We all see him as being the climber of Mt Everest but why is he so close to England?”
Suggesting that no Kiwi could stand the thought of England getting their hands on the trophy named after the most famous New Zealander of all time.
“I don’t think anyone would, would they? It will be one of the few times we will have everyone supporting us anyway,” added Hansen.
A win over England would cap a great year for the All Blacks after the disappointment of 2007.
All Blacks wary of wounded Poms
Despite their heavy defeat to the Springboks, New Zealand are in no way writing off England ahead of this weekend’s clash at Twickenham.
“We will have our hands full this weekend. We’ve got to make sure we recover well and be up for another physical match next Saturday,” said All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu.
Flanker Jerome Kaino reiterated Mealamu’s views.
“The job isn’t done yet – we are not going to read too much into the South Africa scoreline. The loss against South Africa will fire England up, but we want to finish this tour on a high note.
“We are one week away from what would be a big accomplishment, and we are all focusing on that.”
Coach Graham Henry is confident England will pick themselves up from last weekend’s defeat and believes the English public need to give Martin Johnson time.
“We will watch the England game [against South Africa] and start to analyse them. There will be some depression in England after that result. Martin Johnson has got a lot of character, and I have a lot of time for him. He will take things on the chin and get on with things, because that is all he can do.
“It will take time for things to get where he wants to get to. People need to be patient.”
More to follow …