England ace Chris Ashton claims the All Blacks STILL have no idea who the Red Rose stars are

CHRIS ASHTON claims the All Blacks STILL have no idea who England's stars are ahead of their showdown at Twickenham on Saturday.

Before the last meeting between the teams Down Under in 2014, New Zealand lock Brodie Retallick confessed he could not name one English player.

 Chris Ashton reckons the All Blacks have no idea who they are

7
Chris Ashton reckons the All Blacks have no idea who they are

And Ashton, 31, revealed he got much the same response out of his Kiwi team-mates while playing for French giants Toulon last season.

Sale Sharks wing Ashton, who made his first Red Rose appearance in four years as a sub in Saturday's 12-11 win over South Africa said: "Speaking to Malakai Fekitoa, he literally didn't even know what the Premiership was.

"He didn't know what the European Cup was, didn't know anything.

"I don't think they paid too much attention to it. They obviously have a very good league and maybe our stuff is not shown on telly there."

Four years ago, Retallick finally confessed he knew "a couple" of England players before naming Michael Lawes — instead of Northampton forward Courtney.

Ashton's Toulon team-mates, centre Fekitoa and World Cup legend Ma'a Nonu, quickly found out who he was as racked up a Top 14-record 24 tries after quitting Saracens for France.

Wasps' Kiwi-born flanker Brad Shields attempted to defend his countrymen's lack of world rugby knowledge.

Shields played all his rugby in New Zealand but qualifies as "English" through his parents and made his Red Rose debut in South Africa in the summer.

 England are getting ready to rip into New Zealand and let them know who they are

7
England are getting ready to rip into New Zealand and let them know who they are
 The All Blacks might want to know who these two are. . .

7
The All Blacks might want to know who these two are. . .

He said: "I wouldn't say they don't know about English rugby, but there's more coverage of Mitre 10 Cup and Super Rugby over here."

Shields, 27, captained current All Blacks superstars Beauden Barrett and Ardie Savea for the Hurricanes before giving up his Kiwi dreams.

The flanker helped beat an England side including Mako Vunipola, Owen Farrell and George Ford in the Under-20 World Cup final in 2011 but was constantly overlooked for a senior cap by boss Steve Hansen.

 England skipper Dylan Hartley is from New Zealand and was born and raised in Rotorua

7
England skipper Dylan Hartley is from New Zealand and was born and raised in Rotorua

Yet Shields, who is set to win his fourth cap this weekend, does not see Saturday's Twickenham Test as his chance of payback.

He added: "I don't think it's about proving a point or anything like that.

"As soon as you start to over-think things, go too deep and worry about yourself too much, that will affect the performance of the team.

"I'm just going to go out there and play rugby like I've tried to play for the last ten years. I'll do my best for the squad because that's all that matters.

 Brad Shields quit New Zealand after failing to make it as an All Black

Getty Images – Getty
7
Brad Shields quit New Zealand after failing to make it as an All Black

"Otherwise you'll look like bit of a sham out there if you don't play well."

Shields will not need to tell his England team-mates about the danger world player of the year Barrett brings from fly-half ahead of New Zealand's first meeting with England at Twickenham since their 30-22 victory five years ago.

He added: "Beauden and Ardie are exciting players and we will have our hands full.

"But every week there are different challenges so we have to make sure we tie up some of their most lethal guys.

 Beauden Barrett is the world's best fly-half and running riot again with the All Blacks

PA:Press Association
7
Beauden Barrett is the world's best fly-half and running riot again with the All Blacks
 The All Blacks are one of the great international teams in the history of sport

7
The All Blacks are one of the great international teams in the history of sport

"New Zealand like to play at speed so we'll have to meet that with some physicality and slow the ball down a bit.

"There are going to be some emotions on Saturday, there is no hiding from that.

"What's the old saying? 'Enemies on the field and best friends after the game'. That's my mentality.

"I've got some really good mates and it would be a shame to stop talking to them just because I'm playing for a different team."

England and Argentina rugby players and fans observe a minute's silence at Twickenham on Armistice Day

CHRIS ASHTON claims the All Blacks STILL have no idea who England's stars are ahead of their showdown at Twickenham on Saturday.