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Saints form key to Dickson’s return to the top

Lee Dickson has started each of England's last five Tests © Getty Images

Rugby News Saints form key to Dickson’s return to the top

Ahead of a third start of the autumn this Saturday against New Zealand, scrum-half Lee Dickson says that hitting top form personally and as a team with the Saints was crucial for him keeping hold of the England 9 shirt.

Dickson, who also impressed on the summer tour of South America, claims increased competition from Kahn Fotuali’i forced him to hit another level, while the Saints' form as a whole is rightly reflected with a third of Stuart Lancaster’s starting XV hailing from Franklin’s Gardens.

“It’s great and credit should go to the coaches for that,” he told Talking Rugby. “We changed our gameplan a little bit here and there and credit for that is that we’ve got so many in the England team.

“With Kahn coming in I knew it was going to be a big challenge for me and I could have taken it two ways. Either I was going to take sit back, or I had to up my game and hopefully my performances at the start of the season have shown it to be the latter.

“Credit has to go to Kahn as well, he’s really helped me out with my game and pushed me all the way.”

Wins over Australia and Argentina at Twickenham have left England quietly confident heading into Saturday’s showdown with the All Blacks, but Dickson knows that it is going to be a huge ask to impose just a second defeat in 33 games on the World Champions - even if that other loss was at HQ 12 months ago.

“These last few weeks have been really good for the team and myself,” he added. “New Zealand, in England, is always going to be a big game and there’s a lot of hype around it. In our camp though we’ve got to make sure that we prepare well, which we have, and now we have to make sure that with all the emotion and pride that goes into a game like this that we turn up on the day.

“I wasn’t involved last year but the boys put on a great performance and now we have to back it up this year. We’re heading in with a bit of momentum after two good wins against very good teams. We know that it will be another up in the challenge this week though and we’re really looking forward to the game now.

“We played a good first 40 against Argentina and also played well after the break against Australia, but we now have to try and put those two together for the complete performance. They’ve got dangers all over the park and we know that if we slip up at any time, we’ll probably be under our posts. It’s about being switched for the full 80 minutes from 1 to 23.

“Everyone has a job to do and I’m confident we can do it.”

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