Defence the key against Kiwis: Graham
English Test prop James Graham is playing his cards close to his chest regarding a strategy to overcome a powerful Kiwis forward pack, but says England's defence will be crucial if they are to advance to the World Cup Final.
"They've got such an exciting forward pack that promote the ball and run so hard and so strong," Graham said of the New Zealand side his team will face this Saturday (midnight AEDT, 2am Sunday New Zealand time).
"Out on the edge you've got some world class finishers, and the halfbacks are two of the most creative halfbacks knocking around in Johnson and Foran... everywhere across the park is just danger so we're going to have to defend really well if we want to get through," he said.
However Graham would not be drawn on England's strategy to tackle the monster Kiwi pack.
"I don't want to talk about that too much; without giving away too much we're going to have to work hard and we're going to have to deal with that threat that they pose and hopefully we can ask some questions of them too," he said.
"We're going to have to hang in there when the tough moments come... they've got so much strike power, we're going to have to really dig in and defend well and when times get tough is going to be where they game's going to be won and lost I think."
Graham, who featured in Canterbury's 2012 grand final loss to Melbourne, said England's semi-final meeting with New Zealand (the first match of a big double header at Wembley Stadium this Saturday), ranks up there among the biggest games he's played in.
"It's definitely up there, a World Cup semi-final, Wembley Stadium, it speaks for itself doesn't it? Coming up against the reigning champions as well, it doesn't get much tougher than that," he said.
"It's going to be a big game for us and we'll certainly have to bring our A-game if we want to get the win and get through to next week."