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Foster marks the All Blacks report card ahead of England

By PA
The All Blacks celebrate a try - PA

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster believes his side are in a “really good space” as they approach the end of their Test tour with a clash against England at Twickenham.

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The All Blacks last faced Eddie Jones’ side in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup and were knocked out of the tournament following a 19-7 loss.

They face England in their final Test of the autumn internationals and Foster is looking forward to the occasion having already beaten Wales and Scotland.

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He told a press conference: “We’re ready, I think we’ve really targeted these three Tests – Wales, Scotland and England – and we knew all of them would be tough up here.

“For some of our guys it’s their first time up here so every Test has been massive and this is another one.

“(I’m) delighted with where we’ve got to the last couple of Tests but again just like the last two weeks we’ve got to climb up and get up on Saturday and put a game on the park that we’re proud of.

“We’re in a good space. I like where our game’s going, we’ve had a plan to try and grow some options to cement some combinations and to change a few things in our game.

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“If I look at the last three to four weeks and where we’ve got to in that space we’re pretty delighted, but we’re playing a different type of team this week than what we have the last two.

“They want to play a strong pressure game and to squeeze your game and your mindset a little bit.

“The challenge for us against this particular opposition is how good are we at actually making sure we don’t go into our shell.”

Lock Brodie Retallick will win his 100th Test cap for the All Blacks on Saturday, and he alongside captain Samuel Whitelock are set to establish a new world record of 64 Test starts together in the second row.

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Winger Mark Telea keeps his spot following an impressive debut against Scotland last weekend, while Retallick’s return from suspension sees Scott Barrett move to blindside flanker.

New Zealand team: B Barrett, M Telea, Rieko Ioane, J Barrett, C Clarke; R Mo’unga, A Smith; E de Groot, C Taylor, T Lomax, B Retallick, S Whitelock (capt), S Barrett, D Papali’i, A Savea.

Replacements: S Taukei’aho, G Bower, N Laulala, S Frizell, H Sotutu, TJ Perenara, D Havili, A Lienert-Brown.

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