"They'll be Hurting" - All Black wing Sevu Reece expects England are feeling the effects of a narrow defeat in Dunedin - Ruck

“They’ll be Hurting” – All Black wing Sevu Reece expects England are feeling the effects of a narrow defeat in Dunedin

The first Test of the England vs New Zealand series is in the books, as the All Blacks achieved a narrow 16-15 win last Saturday in Dunedin. Sevu Reece expects that England will be hurting this week, due to the tight nature of the loss at the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Steve Borthwick’s side came within touching distance of beating the All Blacks upon New Zealand soil, yet the 21-year record holds strong ahead of the second Test.

The series comes to a close this Saturday, with Eden Park set to host the curtain closer to England’s exhaustive season. The Auckland stronghold has not hosted an All Blacks defeat for 30 years, with the up-hill battle taking an even steeper incline as Saturday draws near. Speaking in the post-match media mix zone after the win in Dunedin, the All Blacks wing expects his opponents to be carrying some mental scars from the hard-fought loss.

“We’ve got to raise that, we’ve got to go to the next level, because they’re (England) going to go to the next level. We know how much there’ll be hurting from that game, the close score at the end. So, come next week, we’ve got to be right up there. And because we know they’ll bring it, it’s game on, it’s exciting.”

“There’ll be very similar to today, it’s going to be close. It’s going to be real physical. Probably the team with the least amount of mistakes will will come out on top.”

“Like we saw tonight, those England boys, they just keep turning up, they’re not going to go away. So, come next week, we’re going to have to go up another level. In saying that, they’re going to go up another level. So the boys are going to prepare right, and it all starts with our recovery. The next 48 hours, then should be fun.”

The first Test in Dunedin marked a significant day for Reece, as the Crusader returned to the All Blacks for his first cap in over a year. The flying wing has been out of the black jersey with a severe knee injury, and missed the trip to France for the Rugby World Cup.

Reece marked his return to the camp with a well-taken try, as he skipped passed a handful of tackle attempts, before powering over an English defender to score. Despite his delight in how his return to the All Blacks went, Reece was feeling the effects of his first Test after a lengthy spell on the side-lines;

“Yeah, I’m filling a bit sore! I don’t know exactly how long it’s been, but I’m pretty sure someone just told me that the last time I played Test rugby was 18 months ago. So being back out here tonight was very, very special. Yeah, definitely felt that on the body. I will now nail my recovery and hopefully I get to play again next week.”

“Yeah, that (his try) was obviously off the back of some awesome momentum from our big boys. And, you know, there’s some damage, just finishing off the tries, but it was it was good to get a try. Thanks for the boys for setting me up.”

“I was out there, and you’re running around, you don’t feel happy with the scoreboard as anything can happen. But you know, just thank goodness, we managed to come out on top.”

The All Blacks marked their new era under Scott Robertson with a win, despite banding together as a squad just 10 days previously. As New Zealand commenced the first match of their new season, Reece admitted to how his side took a while to gel together as a squad. Looking across at how England had previously unleashed their blitz defence upon the Six Nations and enjoyed a tune-up in Japan, Reece recognised the cohesive defensive unit that his side tries to evade on Saturday.

“I think the first half, it took us a wee bit to maybe find our feet, and we’ll probably just playing a bit too much. But in a second half when we started to stick to our game plan. You know, we’ve really opened it up. We’ve started our game plan pretty well towards the end and the boys stayed composed. We closed their game pretty well. So happy with that.”

“Coming into this week, we knew because they’ve played a few tests, the Six Nations and Japan last week and, we knew that was coming, But they do so well. That’s the thing. You know, they did really well. They stopped us a few times from from getting out wide, like I said, we’ll have to come back next week and learn from that, and come up with other strategies on how we get around.”

“They’ve got talent everywhere, forwards and in the back-line. Like we saw out there in the tries they scored (with) the big athletes, they’ve got as well.”