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We want to play quick - Rowntree

Graham Rowntree has warned New Zealand to expect a high-tempo second Test in response to the hosts' claims that England use go-slow tactics to compensate for their inferior conditioning.

The dry pitch of the enclosed Forsyth Barr Stadium has been touted as the ideal arena for the All Blacks to place the series beyond the reach of Stuart Lancaster's tourists.

An average of 53 points have been scored in internationals since the venue opened for the 2011 World Cup, but Rowntree insists that statistic also suits England.

New Zealand highlighted the time taken to form scrums and line-outs during their 20-15 victory at Eden Park, with head coach Steve Hansen voicing his concern at the tactics.

It was a theme picked up by the home media - much to the puzzlement of Rowntree, who says 1/8 favourites the All Blacks should ready themselves for a lung-busting 80 minutes.

"We want to play quick. I was alarmed by some of the comments in the press this week saying we want to slow the game down," the forwards coach said.

"We want to play quick because we have a lightning-fast back line and a dynamic group of forwards.

"We want to play every style of game and have every tool available, but we want to play quick and that stadium will suit us.

"Our game is advancing and the guys are getting used to each other, but there's a real desire to play a very quick game, a challenging game.

"We're also very fit as well. The squad is a lot fitter in my opinion - and I'm sure the data would back that up as well - than it ever has been. That is certainly helping the way we want to play."

Only a Conrad Smith try - that completed a desperate late assault - decided the first Test, and England have subsequently been reinforced by the availability of their Aviva Premiership finalists.

Flanker Tom Wood is the solitary change to the pack, but major surgery has been performed on a back line that is clearly viewed by Lancaster as his first choice.

The greatest stir has been caused by Manu Tuilagi's selection on the right wing - an exciting and bold move that has the capacity to backfire spectacularly due to misgivings over his speed on the turn and aerial ability.

He last performed the role for Leicester in 2011 and a critical clash against New Zealand is a risky stage on which to experiment. All Blacks fly-half Aaron Cruden has already braced Tuilagi for an aerial bombardment.

The successful RBS 6 Nations centre pairing of Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell has been reunited, while the return of half-backs Danny Care and Owen Farrell offers far greater generalship.

New Zealand, strengthened by the return of prolific wing Julian Savea, are also expected to improve substantially following an uncharacteristically error-strewn display in Auckland.

And Rowntree says England must still discover another gear if they are to set up a series decider in Hamilton on June 21.

"New Zealand have had another week together and they have spoken about going up another 30 per cent, so we have to match that," he said.

"They are a super-skilled team. Look at the experience they have. It is a real challenge of where we are as a group, to play them again.

"I'd like to play them every week... as long as we did okay! It's a true test of where you are.

"It is one of the best countries to come and visit and play rugby, because everyone knows rugby - everyone you meet in the street.

"Particularly as a forward, you come here to test yourselves against the best and I want us to be competitive.

"I thought last week we were nearing the standards I've set for the group, but in the second Test we've got to go to another level.

"A lot has been said about the New Zealand performance and how frustrated they are, so they'll be better. Our game has to go up."


From Belfast Telegraph