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Crotty: New Zealand v Barbarians will be spectacular at Twickenham

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Centre Ryan Crotty is predicting "a real spectacle” of attacking rugby when New Zealand renew their rivalry with the Barbarians. The sides meet in the Kilik Cup at Twickenham on November 4 with tickets available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk

Some teams become more conservative after a setback. But the All Blacks' response to being held to a draw by the British & Irish Lions last summer was to expand their horizons further.

It hasn't work all the time. After winning all six Rugby Championship matches, they fell short against Australia in the final Bledisloe Cup match this weekend.

But they head for Europe with Crotty – a Barbarians player in 2015 after lifting the World Cup – predicting more fireworks on November 4.

Ryan Crotty and Nehe Milner-Skudder

Ryan Crotty (right) with Nehe Milner-Skudder at Barbarians training

"The Lions series didn’t go to plan but then you sit down and figure out what went wrong,” said Crotty.

"Over the last few years we’ve probably been the best attacking side, we’ve got extremely talented players in attack who can create space and are hard to stop. 

“But against the Lions we probably didn’t attack as much as we wanted to. That’s what we’ve been working on and making sure we’re able to execute those plays.”

The adventure was there to see as New Zealand scored 33 tries in six Rugby Championship matches, running in a record eight and seven tries against Australia and South Africa respectively in the Sydney and North Shore games.

"The Barbarians style is always exciting,” said Crotty. 

"They play without pressure or fear and try to make the game a spectacle that you want to see – much like the All Blacks, they want to keep the ball and play. You want to see something you don’t normally see in a Test match.

"November 4 is definitely going to be a spectacle. It’s the first game of our tour, we’ll be excited to be back in the UK. There might be a few familiar faces in the Barbarians side too. Certainly I can imagine the kind of game we’ll play!"

Crotty enjoyed his own Barbarians experience in games against Argentina and Gloucester in 2015 as part of a stellar back line. 

Ryan Crotty (right) attempts to stop Argentina's Facundo Isa

Ryan Crotty (right) attempts to stop Argentina's Facundo Isa

He and four other All Blacks – Waisake Naholo, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Lima Sopoaga and Tawera Kerr-Barlow – joined forces with the likes of Australia’s Joe Tomane, South Africa’s Pat Lambie and giant Fijian Nemani Nadolo.

"It was awesome – it was great getting to know the guys you play against,” said Crotty. " You don’t often get the opportunity to bond with them and the camaraderie and friendship you establish is one of the best things. 

"It’s also pretty cool to wear your club socks at Twickenham. I wore New Brighton socks and I don’t think anyone would have done that for the Barbarians before so that was pretty special. 

“I knew players like big Nemzy (Nemani Nadolo) from the Crusaders but I enjoyed getting to know people like (Australia’s) Joe Tomane and the senior guys like Stephen Moore, Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha.

"These are guys you’ve played a lot against but you make friends and essentially the Barbarians is what rugby’s all about – going out and having a crack with your mates."

UK audiences will also get their first close-up view of Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson, who won Super Rugby at the first time of asking this year with Crotty in his side.

Robertson is seen as a potential future All Blacks coach but has a sense of fun summed up by a breakdance celebration at the end of the Super Rugby final.

"He’s an infectious person, he’s got a great attitude, he’s bubbly, and a good man at bringing the best out of you,” said Crotty.

"He’s someone players can relate to. He’s a perfect man to have involved in the Barbarians. I just hope he doesn’t get to bust any moves.”