Preview: New Zealand v England

Fri, 13 Jun 2014 06:29
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England will be looking to go one better than last week when they face the All Blacks in the second Test in Dunedin on Saturday.

England will be looking to go one better than last week when they face the All Blacks in the second Test in Dunedin on Saturday.

The visitors came close to catching New Zealand out in the home team's first Test of the year in Auckland, but a late Conrad Smith try saw the All Blacks secure a tense 25-20 victory at Eden Park.

This means that both teams will be looking to launch a comeback of sorts heading into their second clash at the sheltered Forsyth-Barr Stadium.

Things are likely to be even tougher for England this time around, as the All Blacks have had another week together and will be intent on putting things right and asserting their dominance as the world's best team.

Lancaster faced some pleasant selection headaches this week, with the players involved in the Premiership final available again and last weeks team having performed so well.

He decided to show faith in some of the players that served him well during the Six Nations, with flyhalf Owen Farrell entrusted with steering the ship once more.

Farrell was impressed with the team effort in Auckland, but believes they have the potential to raise the bar even higher this week.

“I thought it was a very good performance [in Auckland],” he explained. “I thought we were cohesive and everybody was playing their part.

“Everybody here definitely thinks we can get better as a team and hopefully that will always be the case. There’s a lot of learning to take out of the first Test. I’m sure [the All Blacks] will come back stronger but I’m sure we will too,” he said.

One of the other key changes in the backline sees Manu Tuilagi shift to the wing, and Farrell believes he will be just as destructive out wide as he was in midfield last week.

“At age-grade rugby we just tended to give him the ball to see what happened,” he added. “But he’s still a massive threat now.

“To have him anywhere on the field brings a lot to any team. To have him there will create opportunities; we would have a powerful backline,” he said.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made one enforced change to his team, with Ben Smith moving to his preferred position of fullback for the injured Israel Dagg and Julian Savea returning on the wing to face Tuilagi.

The sheltered Forsyth-Barr Stadium means that the elements will not play much of a role this weekend, which could translate into a more open game, especially if the All Blacks manage to click.

Players to watch:

For New Zealand: Ben Smith is in his preferred position of fullback, and if he is able to link up with Julian Savea then the consequences could be serious for England. Aaron Cruden is under pressure to perform with the on-form Beauden Barrett on the bench, and his halfback partner Aaron Smith while always pose an attacking threat. Captain Richie McCaw will want to lead from the front with support from the likes of the experienced Jerome Kaino and up front look out for the high work rate of Brodie Retallick whilst veteran prop Tony Woodcock will be keen to prove that he still has what it takes.

For England: Manu Tuilagi has been put on the wing where he will look to connect with dangerous fullback Mike Brown. Owen Farrell will want to repay Stuart Lancaster's faith in him along with Danny Care who missed out lasst week due to injury. Captain Chris Robshaw will want to set the tone, along with physical No.8 Ben Morgan. Geoff Parling was impressive in the line-outs last week and David Wilson will be out to win another battle with Tony Woodcock.

Head to head: Both fullbacks Ben Smith and Mike Brown can break a game wide open, but the biggest clash is likely to come out wide where Julian Savea will square up to Manu Tuilagi. It will be youth versus experience in the midfield with Billy Twelvetrees likely to have his hands full up against Ma'a Nonu and Luther Burrell facing Conrad Smith. In the formwards captains Richie McCaw and Chris Robshaw should have a good tussle at the breakdown whilst No.8s Ben Morgan and Jerome Kaino not about to take a backwards step for anyone. The battle at line-out time will be between Sam Whitelock and Geoff Parling and in the scrums David Wilson will have a tough jon against the experienced Tony Woodcock.

Recent results:
2014: New Zealand won 20-25 in Auckland
2013: New Zealand won 30-22 in London
2012: England won 38-21 in London
2010: New Zealand won 26-16 in London
2009: New Zealand won 19-6 in London
2008: New Zealand won 32-6 in London
2008: New Zealand won 44-12 in Christchurch
2008: New Zealand won 37-20 in Auckland
2006: New Zealand won 41-20 in London
2005: New Zealand won 23-19 in London

Prediction: England will be bouyed by last week's effort, but the All Blacks have had a week together and should bounce back well to win this by about 15 points.


New Zealand:
15 Ben Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Victor Vito, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa.

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Danny Care, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Chris Ashton.

Date: Saturday, June 14
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT, 08.35 BST)
Expected weather: Partly cloudy but dry, high of 15 with a 20 kph wind.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Jérôme Garcès (France)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)