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Solitary change for England in Auckland decider

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: England head coach Steve Borthwick made only one injury-enforced change to the side that narrowly went down to the All Blacks this past Saturday.


Rookie prop Fin Baxter – who made his Test debut off the bench last week replacing the injured Joe Marler – will don the No.1 jersey this week with Sale Sharks prop Bevan Rodd taking up a spot on the bench.

England coach Steve Borthwick expressed his confidence in the youngster and feels that he can handle the occasion at Eden Park – a venue where the All Blacks haven’t lost for 30 years.

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“He’s a really composed, calm young man, who is eager to learn and seems to take things in his stride,” Borthwick told reporters.

“The scrum is going to be a great challenge for a young prop.

“New Zealand is a top scrummaging side, but players like Fin have now scrummed against them.”


Baxter will join the front row alongside his captain and hooker Jamie George with Will Stuart at tighthead prop.

Veteran tighthead Dan Cole will win his 115th cap should he come off the bench.

Little pressure on England?

Borthwick said the responsibility was on the home team to maintain their incredible 30-year run at Eden Park since 1994 that consists of 48 wins and two draws.

“It’s their record, so the pressure is on them and hopefully we can cause them some problems,” he said.


“The players were gutted that we didn’t get the result in Dunedin, losing by a single point.

“Eden Park is a brilliant place to play . I want them to go and be positive, aggressive with the ball.”

England: 15 George Furbank, 14 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Tommy Freeman, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Chandler Cunningham-South, 5 George Martin, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Jamie George (captain), 1 Fin Baxter.
Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Tom Curry, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Ollie Sleightholme.

Date: Saturday, July 13
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.05 (08.05 BST; 07.05 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Damon Murphy (Australia), Pierre Broussett (France)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)

All Black second row Brodie Retallick joins Jim Hamilton for the latest episode of Walk the Talk, touching on life in Japan, RWC 2023 and the future of All Black rugby. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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