Even back in 2003, it was the simplest of questions. When asked who they wanted to win the World Cup if not Australia, Wallabies captain George Gregan and winger Joe Roff looked at each other knowingly for a moment. In reply, they chimed in unison: “Anyone but England.” All Blacks outside-half Andrew Mehrtens once described England famously as “pricks to lose to”, and elaborated on that in a 2014 article. “That was the sort of feeling they used to engender in the All Blacks. “In my day England were the one team we hated to lose to, and it was a powerful motivator… “When I came into the All Blacks in 1995 a lot of that feeling was generated from guys who had been in England in 1993 when we lost 15-9… “There was definitely a feeling among the All Blacks who played that day that there had been an element of putting the colonials back in their place. “That came more from external forces around the team, than from within, but it didn’t alter the perception. “In New Zealand, rugby is the game for the people, whereas in the UK it’s very much a game for the ‘elite’. “That… Read full this story
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