New Zealand's Carter surprised by England form
LONDON (AFP) –
All Blacks star Dan Carter has been taken aback by England’s inability to kick on from 2003 when he remembers them “teaching us a lesson”.
Since that 15-13 defeat in Wellington nine years ago by an England side that went on to win that year’s World Cup, New Zealand have won all nine subsequent Tests against the Red Rose.
It is a sequence world champions New Zealand will be widely tipped to extend at Twickenham on Saturday, with the All Blacks on a 20-match unbeaten run.
England, by contrast, go into their final international of 2012 on the back of defeats this month by Australia (20-14) and South Africa (16-15).
Fly-half Carter, who expects to be fit following Achilles and calf problems for this weekend’s encounter, is surprised England — who did reach the 2007 World Cup final — haven’t achieved more since Martin Johnson lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy.
“Yes I’m surprised England haven’t done more since 2003. They’ve shown the strength of their side only in patches since then,” he said.
“Maybe consistency is what’s been lacking. They’ve got the players, so talent’s not an issue. They can beat any side on their day.
“It was in 2003 that I got the All Black jersey for the first time, though unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to get on.
“England were in their prime and had a pretty successful year. They taught us a lesson at home.
“We have real pride in not losing at home and they took it to us that night.”
While England’s World Cup triumph marked a summit from which they all too rapidly descended, New Zealand have used last year’s success on home soil as a spur to greater heights, overpowering Scotland, Italy and Wales in their latest annual stroll round Europe.
“It’s a very new squad so it doesn’t feel like there’s any less pressure playing for the All Blacks now that we’ve won a World Cup,” said Carter, who announced Tuesday that his wife, Honor, is expecting the couple’s first child.
He added: “It’s more the fact of proving a lot of people wrong in some way or another. History has shown that teams that win the World Cup have pretty average seasons the following year.
“That’s been a big focus for us this year. We want to be an even better and stronger side.
“We never look too far ahead and every time we pull on the All Black jersey it’s a chance to add to the legacy.
“We thrive on that pressure and love it. Every time you get to pull on the Black jersey you’re wanting to perform.
“If you have that drive each week you tend to win more than you lose.”