England captain Chris Robshaw told GiveMeSport in an exclusive interview that he is under no illusion of the challenge that awaits his team in New Zealand ahead of the forthcoming three Test tour against the world champion All Blacks.
Robshaw and most of the squad arrived in New Zealand on Thursday, with the rest due to fly out after this weekends Aviva Premeirship final between Saracens and Northampton.
England regulars, Courtney Lawes, Dylan Hartley, Luther Burrell and the powerful Vunipola brothers are some of the big names that will arrive late and with the first Test set for Auckland on the 7th, it is unlikely that any of the late comers will feature.
This doesn't bode well for England and even with a fully fit squad it still wouldn't look good for Robshaw's team against a side that is at the pinnacle of the sport after winning the world cup and going through last year with a perfect record of 14 wins.
Robshaw will be well aware that Martin Johnson's team was the last England side to taste success in New Zealand when they battled to a tight 15-13 win at the Westpac Stadium, and if he decides to look a little deeper at the statistics he will see that this has only ever been achieved once more in over 109 years.
If Robshaw chooses not to look at the statistics, but at the opposition, it probably looks even more bleak when he factors in the names of Vito, McCaw, Messam, Kaino, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Savea, etc....etc.
Make no mistake, Chris Robshaw knows the challenge that awaits his team and in an exclusive interview with GiveMeSport, the England captain said, "We are looking to continue to improve when we go down there and to give it a go."
Robshaw went on to add, "It is a challenging place but there is no better place to test yourself at the moment."
With the world cup looming next year, this tour will give England coach Stuart Lancaster the perfect opportunity to see just how far his team has come.
His squad has certainly grown and is starting to show some depth in many positions, something the England captain was eager to point out, "A couple of players in every position can come in and put their hand up and competition for places is great at the moment."
That might be something that could help England down the line however the reality for now, is that depth or no depth, England, "are on a hiding to nothing," as former world cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward pointed out.