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Marshall backs All Blacks

Former New Zealand scrum-half Justin Marshall predicts England will fall to an All Blacks team determined to issue a declaration of intent ahead of next year's World Cup.

The first of four QBE Internationals staged at Twickenham this month is the final time the rivals will clash before challenging for the Webb Ellis Cup at England 2015.

The reigning world champions are 1/3 favourites to win on Saturday and Marshall, who amassed 81 caps between 1995 and 2005, believes they have added motivation to leave their mark in south west London.

"New Zealand know that if they don't make a statement at Twickenham before next year's World Cup, they will come under a lot of pressure if they have to win a final there," Marshall said.

"I believe they are going to make a statement on Saturday and that will be at England's expense.

"They have the edge over England because they've played a lot more rugby recently with the Rugby Championship.

"The last time England beat the All Blacks in 2012 it was the last Test of their autumn, so they had a bit of game time under their belts.

"This is the strongest team New Zealand could have selected given that Dan Carter just hasn't had enough time at this level."

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw, who will win his 135th cap on Saturday, agrees the motivation extends beyond accumulating a fifth successive victory over England.

"We've talked a little bit about this being the last time we are here in England playing at a place where hopefully we will get a crack to play at next year," McCaw said.

"I guess the thing you try to do is get the performance right because we want to play well and get a win and if that's got anything that flows on to next year then that's good.

"If I said that's the only reason we want to win, that's not true. As we have seen even this year a week's a long time in rugby, let alone 10 months.

"But I guess at a venue against an opposition we could potentially play next year it would be nice to go away with a bit of time off and a good feeling.

"Two years ago we got tripped up at Twickenham. Last year was one hell of a match that was in the balance for a fair bit.

"It's because of those sorts of memories that it will be one hell of challenge against England, but it's something we are excited about."

* Justin Marshall was speaking at an event for Business Insurance Specialist, QBE. QBE supports community rugby through the QBE Coaching Club - visit


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