Is England now the All Blacks bete noire?

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James Mortimer     05 Dec 2012     Getty Images

England are part of an elite club that has toasted more than one victory over the All Blacks, and while the nine Test winning streak the men in black held over the English is already consigned to distant memory in some parts, there is no doubt that the world’s richest rugby nation’s elite side fired a considerable broadside across the World Champions’ bow.

Some would argue the defeat was more considerable as it broke a drought that had stood since 2003.

Twickenham will be an integral part of England’s quest to join the original Tri-Nations heavyweights as double winners of the World Cup, and to record the All Blacks second worst defeat with such a young team will bode well in three years’ time.

Such a result however could be a double edged sword, for the All Blacks may class England as their primary danger as they prepare for a World title defence.

The last time England put the All Blacks on such high alert was in 2003, when Clive Woodward’s team recorded famous victories in Australia and New Zealand prior to the World Cup, but an eventual clash between that year’s favourites didn’t occur as the Wallabies knocked their trans-Tasman rivals out of the tournament.

Four years later it was France who defeated the All Blacks – and one could suggest that those two results ensured that Les Bleus and the Wallabies were teams that the All Blacks were well prepared for physically and mentally in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, with neither nation able to spring any ambush on the eventual World Champions last year.

England has given themselves a mighty boost ahead of hosting the quadrennial tournament in 2015, but they have marked themselves to the All Blacks.

While the World Champions head for a well-earned break, the coach and the team have already indicated that the holiday will have a negative edge that comes with a Test defeat, with Steve Hansen expected his troops to be “hurting” throughout the summer.

It will be interesting to see how those emotions materialise when the All Blacks and England clash again.