England

'Clinical' England can cause upset

Tue, 10 Jun 2014 08:33
Dylan-hartley-h_s
It's a squad thing
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England hooker Dylan Hartley said they have had a taste and now want more.

A weakened England side came close to upsetting the World Cup holders in Auckland last Saturday, only to lose the first Test 15-20 through a 78th-minute piece of individual brilliance.

It did not help the England cause that they butchered a number of opportunities through handling errors and poor choices.

Hartley feels that if England are more clinical and stop squandering scoring opportunities, they have a real chance of beating the All Blacks in Dunedin this coming Saturday.

"We fronted up at set piece time and challenged the All Blacks, which was good," the hooker said about last week's Auckland outing.

"Defensively, we were very sound and attack-wise we were in good shape and made good line-breaks," he added.

"I think it's about being more clinical when we make these line-breaks and coming away with points."

He said both teams were rusty in the first match of the three-Test series, and the tourists had to be prepared for New Zealand to lift a gear in Dunedin.

"We've got to be better and we've got to run with them for 80 minutes this weekend, knowing that the intensity is going to go up a notch," he said.

Hartley played no part in the Auckland Test because he was among a group of players whose arrival in New Zealand was delayed by the Premiership final, with Rob Webber of Bath filling in for him and having an outstanding game.

Harley said he could understand if some of the so-called "second stringers" retained their spots over more fancied rivals in Dunedin as a reward for their tenacious performance in the opening Test.

"It's a squad thing, it's a team thing, there's a bigger picture to all this," he said. "I'm sure I'll get an opportunity somewhere and, as ever, I'll give it a good shot when I get a chance."

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