England center Brad Barritt insisted his side can do what no side has done in more than a year and defeat New Zealand when they meet the world champions at Twickenham on Saturday.
The All Blacks, who have not lost a European autumn series international in a decade, arrive at “headquarters” on a 20-match unbeaten run dating back to August last year.
England, who last defeated New Zealand in 2003, shortly before winning the rugby World Cup, by contrast have lost their two most recent matches, going down 16-15 to South Africa at Twickenham last Saturday following a 20-14 loss to Australia earlier this month.
“There is no beating about the bush, they are the best team in the world — but no team is invincible,” Saracens center Barritt said of the All Blacks.
“We don’t put any player on a pedestal. We won’t go in there thinking they are gods on a rugby field,” the 26-year-old South Africa-born back added.
“There’s a huge amount of belief in our team. There is something special about each person,” Barritt said. “In order to be here you’re a natural born winner and you’ll do anything to get to that win.”
Barritt, capped 10 times by his adopted country, added: “We’re against an opponent that’s been unbeaten over the past two years, but this is a huge opportunity for us. At the end of the day they’re just humans with two legs and two arms, albeit performing to the optimum level.”
“We need to raise our game and really impose what we can on them, and not give them any status that’s going to help them,” said Barritt, who will be looking to prove he and Manu Tuilagi can be an effective attacking midfield pairing, with the duo criticized for a lack of creative flair in recent Tests.
The All Blacks have swept all before them while in Europe this tour, defeating Scotland (51-22), Italy (42-10) and Wales (33-10).
“They’re undoubtedly the best attacking team at the moment,” said Barritt, England’s defense captain.
“We take huge pride in what we do on defense. I think Scotland and Wales hung off them and allow them their moves. We have a different philosophy — getting off the line and putting pressure on teams,” he added.
“There’s no reason why we can’t pull off an upset,” Barritt said.