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We can land World Cup blow: McCaw

There’s no point hiding from the psychological strike the All Blacks can land against England on Saturday, according to New Zealand captain Richie McCaw.

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While many of his teammates have danced around the topic of World Cup implications at stake at Twickenham, McCaw doesn’t mince his words.

“If you sit here and say it hasn’t got some sort of importance for next year, you’d be kidding yourself,” he said.

“Things can change but it would be nice from our point of view, playing here, to go away knowing we’ve done the job.”

New Zealand’s next potential visit to Twickenham is the knockout stage of the World Cup, where it could even be England lying in wait.

McCaw says he and his teammates will draw motivation from several areas for the Test he says they rate as the priority on their four-Test tour.

Two years ago a tired New Zealand side led by McCaw were whipped 38-21 at Twickenham.

Last year they rebounded with a 30-22 win but only after staving off a second-half English resurgence.

It hasn’t been vintage All Blacks for much of this year, aside from the thrashing of England in Hamilton and a resounding defeat of Australia at Eden Park.

That is why an under-strength England must be respected, McCaw said.

“That day (2012 loss) we got under pressure and we didn’t cope with it very well, for a whole number of reasons,” he said.

“The year hasn’t quite been perfect but we’ve got through some tough matches, got ourselves out of some tough situations.”

McCaw says the team has done everything possible to make inside centre Sonny Bill Williams feel comfortable this week in his first major Test since returning to rugby.

The importance of staying on the right side of the law as it is interpreted by Welsh referee Nigel Owens.

McCaw says Owens is arguably the world’s premier whistler now, sitting at least level with 2011 World Cup final referee Craig Joubert of South Africa.

Victory will see New Zealand become the first nation to lodge 400 Test wins.

They sit comfortably ahead of the 386 victories secured by second-placed France, whose 706 Tests is 183 more than the All Blacks have played.

MOST TEST WINS

399 – New Zealand (from 523 Tests, 76.3 per cent)

386 – France (706, 54.7)

362 – England (676, 53.6)

341 – Wales (664, 51.4)

292 – Australia (573, 51.0)

279 – South Africa (437, 63.8)

270 – Ireland (638, 42.3)

269 – Scotland (637, 42.2)

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