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Premiership Rugby

Gibson backing All Blacks for victory

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The former Crusaders midfield man has just finished his first season in England with the Bristol club, and despite their relegation from the Zurich Premiership, was one of the standout players in the competition, earning a move to traditional powerhouses Leicester Tigers.

"There's not going to be much in it. I'm going to go for a New Zealand win by between five and seven points," the 28-year-old told the Bristol website.

"New Zealand will be at home and they hate losing in New Zealand."

Gibson won the last of his 19 Test caps at tail-end of last year's Tri-Nations, and with exciting Hurricanes youngster Ma'a Nonu set to make a baptism of fire on to the international stage on Saturday, said of the battle in the centres: "After seeing him in the Super 12 this season Nonu is a very strong runner and a good defender, and the midfield will be a key area for the English side to watch.

"Both Nonu and Tana Umaga have the ability to offload and it'll be an interesting contest."

Much has been made of the strength of the England pack, with Gibson adding his weight to the many who believe that upfront is where the visitors are most dangerous.

"New Zealand will be looking at the English scrums and line-outs with Clive Woodward's forwards being very strong, it will offer a good challenge," he said.

"If New Zealand can get the ball out wide against the English then there should be space. Back in the autumn [November] we scored three tries to one against them, and most of them were out on the flanks."

Gibson is one of many Kiwis currently enjoying life in England, with his old Bristol club being coached by former All Black selector Peter Thorburn, while at Leicester he will be with former Test openside Josh Kronfeld going into the new season.

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