Where ever an Englishman looks in the rugby world there is usually something or somebody from New Zealand impeding his progress.
Take for example the Junior Rugby World Cup in which the Red Rose youngsters boast an excellent record – having reached three of the four finals only to lose to the Baby Blacks on each occasion.
It’s no different at senior level where England have not beaten the All Blacks in the last nine attempts spread over nine, often painful, sometimes pitiful, years.
But even by those standards the stranglehold the New Zealand Sevens side currently has over their English counterparts is quite startling.
Ben Ryan’s squad have at least tasted victory against New Zealand, when they took the title in Dubai last December, but that was an exception and not the rule.
By contrast the Kiwis have beaten England in five of the last eight IRB Sevens tournaments, most recently in Glasgow last Sunday by a rather gilded scoreline of 29-14.
Irritatingly England were within five points in the final minute only for DJ Forbes and his crew to cut loose, as they always seem to do.
Which is why England will be hoping to either beat them or avoid them at this weekend’s Marriott London Sevens.
The Twickenham extravaganza marks the final event in the 2011-12 IRB Series, which the New Zealanders are on the brink of winning for a tenth time.
But former Moseley back rower James Rodwell hopes to spoil their party: “It’s nothing to do with ability, we are a settled squad, we know we can beat the best teams because we have done it in the past,” Rodwell maintains.
“The games we have lost to them this year have usually been by a score or less. We have watched the games afterwards and counted chance after chance we could have taken to win those games.
“They are very clinical, they get a few chances and they take them – that’s what it boils down to. I would say that’s the only difference between the sides.
“Sevens is such fine margins and if we finish off those chances and be a bit more clinical we have got a great chance of beating them.”
First Rodwell and his colleagues have to negotiate their way out of a pool that contains the ever dangerous Samoa, France and the USA on Saturday.
n Tickets for the final leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series will be available in advance until midday on Friday, May 11, with weekend passes starting from £30, day tickets from £18 and kids £5, and then in person from the RFU Ticket Office. Visitwww.rfu.com/londonsevens for further details. (Tickets are subject to availability and booking fees apply).