Itoje became a cult hero on last year’s Lions tour with the chants of travelling supporters bellowing his name ringing around the stadium after the 24-21 second test victory in Wellington. However, discipline has become a problem for the Saracens lock who was yellow carded in the first half of England’s 12-11 win over South Africa.
Itoje will not change his aggressive style and England want him to take the attack to the All Blacks and the athletic lock is bullish heading into the biggest game of England’s November test series.
He told Sky: “They are a team that can be beaten, that has been beaten and lets be crystal clear – we are going out there on Saturday to win and there is no doubt in my mind that if we stick to the game plan we can do just that.
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“New Zealand have more variety in their game and sometimes they want to come through the middle, or around you or attacking space and you have to ready for whatever game plan they come up with. When you are playing a team like New Zealand you have to attack them from the very start of the game and try to impose your game onto them as quickly as possible.”
Having beaten the All Blacks in the red jersey of the Lions and shared the test series, Itoje believes he has a real insight into the challenge he will face tomorrow.
He added: “Spending about six weeks in New Zealand with the Lions I think I understand fairly well what they are about and it taught me a lot about the way they play.
“Some games are more tastier than others and this week you can tell the boys are really ready to perform. Against South Africa I never felt uncomfortable and at no point did I think ‘sugar we are going to have to try something drastically different’. At no point was it panic stations.”
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