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England explain the Schmidt All Blacks influence they want to curb

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

England have highlighted the Joe Schmidt influence on the All Blacks that they will look to curb when the teams meet this Saturday in the Autumn Nations Series at Twickenham. The ex-Ireland coach was added to Ian Foster’s coaching staff earlier this year during the fallout that followed the home Test series loss to an Irish side now coached by Andy Farrell.

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It hasn’t been all plain sailing since Schmidt came on board as the defeat to Argentina in Christchurch heaped further pressure on the Foster regime. However, the All Blacks have arrived in London on the back of a six-game winning streak and they will have every confidence that this run can now be stretched to seven in their last outing of 2022.

England defence coach Anthony Seibold, who has just two games to go before he heads back to Australia to take over as head coach of Manly Sea Eagles, explained the influence that Schmidt has wielded in recent months on the All Blacks. “There have been some noticeable changes since Joe has taken on a position,” he suggested.

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“I feel as though if you look at the New Zealand style of play, particularly early phases, there is certainly a deliberate pattern to how they play. There is certainly a deliberate pattern to how they play. They certainly try and create momentum and they have got some really good ball carriers.

“They try and create momentum on those early phases and they have got great skill level and speed in the back line. What they are trying to do is shorten up the defensive line so they can attack us on the edges, whether it is aerial attack or whether it is through the hands.

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“That is how they look like they are playing. Rugby is a chaotic game but it certainly looks as though the team is a lot more structured with Joe Schmidt’s influence on their attack. He did a super job with Ireland and so you can see some improvement there since Joe has been involved.”

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Despite that Schmidt influence, Seibold has backed up last Saturday’s claim by Eddie Jones that the All Blacks are there for the taking by England and he is expecting a home team win. “Yeah, I really am. Statistically, the facts are that New Zealand have won 78 per cent of games against England, so if you look at statistics England are expected to lose and New Zealand are expected to win.

“But in Eddie’s time here the group has played New Zealand twice had a close loss a couple of years ago in 2018 and then won the semi-final the last time the two teams match up, so we want to go after New Zealand this week, we don’t want to wait for New Zealand to come to Twickenham and come after us.

“We want to go after them and the comments from Eddie are a good indication of where we want to take our training week and how we want to start the game. We want to start the game fast, we want to take it to the New Zealand side.”

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