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Quentin Batalillon

General News 2024

England enter ‘unknown’ against Razor’s All Blacks

Generations of rugby players collided in West Auckland today, with the touring England rugby team visiting a food bank run by an All Blacks great.

Sir Michael Jones said it was a “fantastic gesture” from the team as they had been in the country for just 48 hours before offering to help pack food boxes.

“To see them come directly to the community, especially those in need in this city, speaks volumes about who they are and their leadership.”

The England players also paid for some of their own groceries, including Yorkshire tea.

The England team landed from Japan on Monday evening and have already arranged to meet the community, with a plan to visit a children’s hospital in Auckland on Friday.

Captain Jamie George was delighted to meet the All Blacks legend and told him the team has “huge respect” for him.

“I’m sure my father will be happy that I met you today,” he said.

The England rugby team is helping the West Auckland food bank run by legendary All Blacks player Sir Michael Jones.

George, 33, has played almost 100 combined Tests for England and the Lions and is one of the few veterans in a young England squad.

He said the team will “take a step into the unknown” next week in Dunedin and that he is not entirely sure how the All Blacks will play under coach Scott Robertson.

“He has had huge success with the Crusaders so we assume their play will probably be similar in style.”

England have also tried to operate in a new style, evidenced by a 40-point win over Japan in Tokyo last weekend. They played attacking football in warm conditions, led by an impressive young front five Marcus Smith.

League great Kevin Sinfield is part of the new England coaching team and has introduced young players who have grown up playing more attacking rugby.

He knows Kiwi culture well, having won British Superleague titles with Leeds under former Warriors and Kiwis coach Brian McLennan.

“Obviously rugby is important to us, results and achievements… but experiences and life lessons are important to us too.”

George said his message for the squad as they explore New Zealand is to “get into it, love it and enjoy it”.

“This is what rugby is about for me: going on tours like this to hostile places and trying to compete with the best.”

England have won just two Tests against the All Blacks in New Zealand: 51 years ago at Eden Park in 1973, then a 30-year wait until 2003, where first-five star Jonny Wilkinson fired the English side to victory in Wellington.

That same team would win the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

They hope that the 21-year drought will end next week.