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Rugby | International Rugby

NZ warned not to ignore England threat



New Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster on Monday warned his players not to underestimate struggling England as the world champions looked to add to their hosts' misery at Twickenham on Saturday.

Stuart Lancaster's England have crashed to successive defeats against Australia and South Africa amid criticism of the team's lacklustre performances.

Few pundits expects England to pull off a shock win against an All Blacks outfit unbeaten in their last 20 tests.

But Foster believes New Zealand shouldn't take anything for granted as England will be desperate to salvage some respect after their dispiriting run continued with Saturday's 16-15 loss to South Africa.

"It's a dangerous time to be playing England. We saw that a little bit when we played Wales on Saturday," Foster said.

"They will have targeted us and there's no better way for redemption when you've had a couple of defeats than to knock over a top team.

"Between that and the youth they have, a little sense of adventure could come into their game.

"They've come off two big games so the energy levels will be pretty even and it will just be about who executes the best.

"They showed during their summer series in South Africa that they can play with a bit of width. They proved they have the ability to do that.

"It's going to be at least as tough as the Wales match from what we've seen.

"That was a very physical game and we were fortunate to execute really well in some moments and pile on a lot of pressure."

New Zealand demolished Wales 33-10 in Cardiff on Saturday to continue their impressive run and they will have added motivation to crush England as it is World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw's last match before beginning a six-month sabbatical.

"I'm sure that for Richie it will be in his mind. It's already been mentioned at the back of the bus," All Blacks centre Conrad Smith said.

"I'm sure he won't bring it up. He's already spoken about how much he wants the team to finish well.

"We feel like we deserve it for the year we have, but that doesn't get you any points. You have to do the work."

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