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England's Sinckler excited by 'massive occasion' against All Blacks

Kyle Sinckler running at the All Black defence as England won a 2019 World semi-final. ©AFP

Twickenham (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Kyle Sinckler is relishing England's latest "massive occasion" clash with New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.

England take on the rugby union superpower in what will be a first match against the All Blacks since Sinckler featured in a 19-7 2019 World Cup semi-final win in Japan.

This weekend, as is traditional, New Zealand will perform the Haka before kick-off.

Sinckler, who lined up in a striking V-shape formation with his England team-mates when Eddie Jones' men confronted the Maori challenge in Yokohama three years ago, is eager for more. 

"There is something about the All Blacks with the Haka, the tradition, how much rugby means to New Zealand," Sinckler told reporters at Twickenham on Friday.

England have won just eight out of 42 Tests against New Zealand and Sinckler added: "It's just a massive occasion and it's a massive honour to be involved in a fixture of this magnitude."

The 29-year-old said it was important England remained flexible, citing former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson's celebrated comment about the limits of planning.

"I think obviously we've prepared.We've got a game-plan.But, who knows?You know there's that saying that everybody's got a plan until you get hit in the face. 

"The beauty of how good the All Blacks are, is you can prepare one way and they can play a totally different way.So we just have to be ready."

'Drown out the Haka'

England forwards coach Richard Cockerill, meanwhile, urged England fans in what is set to be a capacity crowd of more than 80,000, to "drown out" the Haka. 

Cockerill, who famously confronted All Blacks hooker Norm Hewitt during the Haka in 1997, said: "It's a home game and we want a partisan crowd who are on our side. 

"If the fans can drown out the noise of New Zealand doing the Haka then let's bring it on."

"I have no regrets over what I did and I think it's a sign of respect for the Maori culture."

The former Leicester hooker added: "I think the Haka has become a little bit sterile and too much is made of it when people do different things towards it.

"New Zealand are allowed to do what they want to do and the opposition should be allowed to do what they want to do."

All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock, speaking at Twickenham later Friday, said England could "do what they want".

"For us, we've always done the Haka for ourselves, reconnecting with the people that have gone before us and also the people standing beside and in front of us," explained Whitelock."That's why we do it."

There have been suggestions England could confront the Haka on Saturday in a manner reminiscent of Cockerill's infamous response of 25 years ago. 

"It's up to them, if that's what they want to do," added Whitelock."Like I said, we do the Haka for our reasons and if they feel like that's going to help them, well good on them."

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