Taupau relishing second clash with England

New Zealand star Martin Taupau says the Kiwis are preparing for a war ahead of the second Baskerville Shield Test match on Saturday.

Following their 26-12 defeat to England last weekend, the Kiwis must win at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday to have any chance of winning the series.

Over 43,000 tickets have been purchased ahead of the match, with officials hopeful that figure will rise to around 48,000 by kick-off.

Taupau, who was at the centre of a farcical transfer to Manly Sea Eagles early this month, is fully confident the world’s highest-ranked side can overcome the hosts this weekend, and believes the current England squad doesn’t contain any strengths the Kiwis don’t have in their arsenal.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I can’t really see anything they have that we don’t have,” said Taupau.

“I know James Graham from my time at Canterbury and he’s a character who deserves respect, but the same goes for individuals in our team and also our culture as Kiwis. We have aggression, we have strength and we bind together as a group and a country. I haven’t been in their camp, but there’s nothing I’d take from the English team and put into the Kiwis system.”

Taupau went on to send out a rallying cry ahead of the match, insisting that the Kiwis will take the game to the English.

“Every time we put on the Kiwi jersey, it’s not just another game for us, it’s another war,” he said.

“Stepping up front in the forwards, we’re there to put our bodies on the line for our brothers, our families and the country that we represent. It’s a huge occasion for us and we’ve got to step it up another gear and bring it to them in London and we can’t wait for that.

“Every player in our team believes in themselves and their own abilities to make sure we can win. We were disappointed to come away with the loss but knowing that it’s a big occasion to win this, we’re ready for it and the whole occasion.”