England 'won't match All Black's pace' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

England 'won't match All Black's pace'

22/05/2008 11:55:24 AM Comments (0)

All Blacks World Cup centre Luke McAlister believes England will struggle to match the pace of New Zealand's play in next month's two Tests.

McAlister, now playing for Sale Sharks in the English premiership but who could be back playing at home as early as next year, believes there is not a huge difference in skill levels between the northern and southern hemisphere.

But he said the speed of the game in Britain was far more pedestrian compared with the Super 14.

"That's why I'm a bit scared for the English coming over here. The way the Super 14 is being played and the way the All Blacks play, I just don't think they will be able to keep up," he told the Press Association website.

The 24-year-old, back in New Zealand for a holiday after Sale failed to reach the premiership play-offs, hinted that next season could be his last with the Sharks.

He said he was missing his Blues and All Blacks teammates and his daughter Astyn.

"I have only got one more season and I could be back. Hopefully if it goes to plan I will be back (in New Zealand)," he told TV3.

"I don't know what's going to be thrown at me in the next seven or eight months. I haven't talked to the (New Zealand Rugby Union) about it.

"But I have got my little girl over here and it's hard being away from her so she would be a big draw card for me coming back."

Meanwhile newly appointed captain Steve Borthwick said he was excited and honoured of leading a new-look England squad against the All Blacks.

England have six new players for the trip to the southern hemisphere.

Speaking to skysports.com, the 28-year-old said:

"We have an excellent squad.

"We have got a mixture of World Cup winners and phenomenal young players and it will be an exciting test for all of us.

"It's a huge honour for me to be leading out the team. I pride myself on a strong work ethic and level of discipline."

Borthwick has already sampled two tours of New Zealand - the Bath lock was a part of the 2003 squad that enjoyed a rare 15-13 win, as well as the side that suffered 36-3 and 36-12 defeats in 2004.

He recalled the intensity of his last trip to New Zealand and admitted the defeats were eye-opening - or eye-closing following an altercation in the first test - and incredible experience.

"From a rugby point of view it's an incredible test and challenge," he said.

"The standard and intensity is incredible and it will be a really tough and exciting test for myself and the lads."

The two tests on June 14 and 21 have been made all the more difficult with the absence of star first five-eighths Jonny Wilkinson and Danny Cipriani through injury.

Borthwick believes the tour provides the perfect opportunity for new squad members such as Topsy Ojo and, in particular, Dan Hipkiss to prove their worth to the national side.

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