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Jamie George insists England are braced to face New Zealand at their most devastating after being served notice of what tomorrow’s Twickenham showdown means to the world champions.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has billed the clash as bigger than last year’s series against the British and Irish Lions, which finished in a 1-1 stalemate after three gripping Tests.
“It makes us aware of where their heads are at for the game. The way they’ve spoken this week is exciting and we’re ready to rip into it,” Saracens hooker George said.
The rivals meet for the first time since 2014 with New Zealand overwhelming favourites to land a psychological blow ahead of the 2019 World Cup and England are eager to discover their place in the global hierarchy.
“We’ve been thinking about this game for a little while. When Eddie first came in he said we want to be the best team in the world and New Zealand are that at the moment,” George said.
“We want to measure ourselves against those guys and see how far away we are.”
Five of Eddie Jones’s starting XV have experienced victory over New Zealand, the most recent win coming on a Lions tour which produced a memorable triumph in Wellington in the second Test.
“That day is probably the best feeling of my rugby career so far and hopefully we can repeat that,” said George, who was the first choice hooker throughout the series.
“Half of us have beaten the All Blacks before and we’ve drawn on those experiences this week.”
England enter the clash armed with possibly the game’s deadliest finisher after Chris Ashton was given his first international start for four years, displacing Jack Nowell from the right wing.
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