Launchbury warns England to ditch reverence for All Blacks


AUTUMN INTERNATIONALS:Joe Launchbury has drawn on his only previous experience of New Zealand rugby to warn England they need to ditch the reverence and hit the All Blacks hard in Saturday’s Twickenham showdown.

The Wasps lock played for the England Under-20s in the 2011 Junior World Cup final against the Baby Blacks, a side who had never lost a game at that level. New Zealand won 33-22 in Padova but Launchbury’s abiding memory of that occasion was England afforded the Kiwis too much respect.

Owen Farrell, who will start at outhalf for England against the All Blacks on Saturday, Mako Vunipola and Jonathan Joseph were all in that Under-20s team.

“The Baby Blacks had never been beaten and they had won the trophy easily at every Junior World Cup,” Launchbury said. “We felt like they were untouchable and we couldn’t get anywhere near them. It wasn’t until we got out there and played our game that we realised we could turn these guys over. By the time we noticed, the chance had maybe gone.

“The respect we gave them in that game was a bit too much. New Zealand rugby is held in high regard but they are 15 men on the rugby field. We have talked before every game this autumn about making a big start. We did that against South Africa last week.

“I would like to think we would get stuck in right from the start. If you let the All Blacks juggernaut get rolling then it will be hard to stop. We have to impose what we want to do on them.”

New Zealand are often held up as an example of how to build and evolve sides, by introducing new players into an environment of experience. England coach Stuart Lancaster is aiming to follow the All Black blueprint but he is at year zero in the plan having had to oversee a major clear-out after the World Cup.

The likes of Farrell, Launchbury, Vunipola and Joseph have all made their Test debuts this year and it is noticeable none of the 2011 Baby Blacks will be involved on Saturday. But Lancaster is not overseeing a youth policy for the sake of it.

Launchbury has been one of the form players in the Premiership this season and he was rewarded with an England call-up and, last week against South Africa, his first Test start.

The 21-year-old made an immediate impact against one of the most physical teams in Test rugby.

In his 72 minutes on the field, Launchbury carried the ball 10 times, the joint second-highest contribution in the team. He was the second top tackler with 11 and a 100 per cent success rate and he won two turnovers.

Hore handed five-week ban But just two competitive matches

New Zealand hooker Andrew Hore has been banned for five weeks – but just two competitive matches – for striking Wales lock Bradley Davies.

Hore’s suspension rules him out of Saturday’s Test against England and it includes the first game of the Highlanders’ 2013 Super Rugby season, against the Chiefs on February 22nd.

But judicial officer Professor Lorne Crerar has come under fire for including three pre-season matches in the ban after being convinced they “all had significant and meaningful consequences” for Hore.

Davies was knocked unconscious after he was hit from behind by Hore’s swinging arm, just 30 seconds into the All Blacks’ 33-10 win at the Millennium Stadium.

Crerar deemed the incident to be “inherently dangerous” and a top-end offence but he accepted Hore had not intended to strike Davies in the head.

Hore was initially hit with an eight-week ban but that was reduced to five when Crerar took into account a number of mitigating factors, including his daily contact with Davies.

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