The tickets have been bought, the sides have been announced, the metal gates are being lined along Whitton Road and the District Line is down – it can only mean another epic weekend at Twickenham as another series of Investec Internationals get underway.
For ten years now, the Investec Internationals have been a firm fixture in England’s calendar as the nation’s rugby-loving public have welcomed the arrival of our southern hemispherean friends and foes: South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa & Argentina.
From their inception in 2000 to the series of matches we are looking forward to this November, the games have consistently provided us with some of the most explosive and remarkable moments the game has ever seen.
The recent video highlighting the Top 10 Investec Internationals moments reminded us of Dan Luger’s last-minute try against Australia in 2000, the power of that man Jonah Lomu and Jonny Wilkinson’s superb chip and chase under the All Blacks’ posts amongst others – which incidentally is worth watching to remind yourself that just thirty seconds before, England were camped under their own posts.
For those that have yet to visit HQ as she is known, Twickenham will be buzzing from about 11am this Saturday. The beer tents will be in full operation, the programmes on sale, the atmosphere building with the visit of arguably the most knowledgeable rugby fans in existence. Kiwis live and breathe the game and this current side is capable of truly humbling England, but there will be no arrogance – even at their most confident, the All Blacks fans’ laid back nature generally illicits little more than ‘we’ll see’, and it makes you think that perhaps it could go either way.
As the white shirts are pulled on in the bowels of the West Stand, Northampton full-back Ben Foden will be slipping into the number 15 jersey for the first time at Twickenham. He has previously appeared from the bench, but after a successful tour to Australia in June, Foden is the preferred choice by Martin Johnson this weekend.
Nick Heath spoke to him at Pennyhill Park ahead of the first Investec International at Twickenham this Saturday against the mighty All Blacks.
With the selection of Sonny Bill Williams in the New Zealand centres alongside Ma’a Nonu, England knows it’s going to be a tough afternoon. The selection of Shontayne Hape and Mike Tindall is the rugby equivalent of football’s ‘parking the bus’ and Mike Ford, defence coach has said to expect the ‘best ever defensive performance’.
Will it be enough to stop the best team in the world? Over 80,000 of us squeezed into a corner of TW1 will be praying so. Bring it on!
Visit the Investec Rugby site to find out more about the series and enter the competition to win tickets to England v Australia.
By Nick Heath (@rugbymedia)