Rowntree: Self-belief key to All Blacks scalp

British & Irish Lions coach Graham Rowntree insists England must channel the spirit of 2003 when they seek just their third ever Test win on New Zealand soil. [more]

Rowntree: Self-belief key to All Blacks scalp

British & Irish Lions coach Graham Rowntree insists England must channel the spirit of 2003 when they seek just their third ever Test win on New Zealand soil.

It is 11 years since England beat the All Blacks in New Zealand – the destination of the Lions’ 2017 tour – when Jonny Wilkinson kicked them to a 15-13 win in Wellington.

Rowntree – assistant coach to Warren Gatland in last year’s victorious tour to Australia – was playing for the Red Rose that day.

England will be without Lions Dan Cole, Mako Vunipola and Tom Croft through injury, as well as Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt after they were involved in Saturday’s Premiership Final.

Tom Youngs will also miss the tour in order to support his wife, who needs treatment for an illness, but despite the missing personnel Rowntree believes the squad is capable of an upset.

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"It has been referenced a lot, that victory in Wellington. It was a special night and it's a case of having self-belief," he said. "That's what it took that night – an incredible amount of self-belief.

"We all know how good this team we're playing are, but we've come here full of enthusiasm and self-belief.

"My over-riding reflection of that game 11 years ago was our self-belief and hanging in there. We just stuck in there.

"That was a significant win for that group of players, who went on to win the World Cup. It was a stepping stone and that's what this is for this group of young players.

"Pitching yourself against the best at Eden Park – it doesn't get any better or harder than that."

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