England v New Zealand - Teams and Prediction
PREVIEW: England coach Eddie Jones compared playing New Zealand to climbing Everest as he urged his side to scale a mountainous challenge against the All Blacks at Twickenham on Saturday.
England have won just eight out of 42 Tests, including one draw, against the All Blacks – a success rate of a mere 19 percent.
But their last meeting against New Zealand saw England triumph 19-7 in a 2019 World Cup semi-final.
“Everyone’s excited. This is like if you’re a mountain climber going to the top of Mount Everest,” said Jones after naming his team for this weekend’s year-end Nations series international on Thursday.
“New Zealand are historically the most successful team in world rugby and the team you want to play against.
“It takes a massive effort to beat them and our players understand that. We’re prepared for it. We’re going after them, they’re not coming after us.”
The veteran Australian coach, asked why so many teams have struggled against the All Blacks down the years, replied: “It’s always in the head, it’s always in the head. You either make a decision to go at them or you’re going to be a spectator.”
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Jones has made three personnel changes to his starting side following last week’s 52-13 rout of Japan, recalling wing Jack Nowell, powerhouse centre Manu Tuilagi and No 8 Billy Vunipola in a team where captain Owen Farrell will win his 100th cap for England.
Vunipola, Tuilagi and Farrell were all in the side that won in Yokohama three years ago, a match where England faced down New Zealand’s traditional pre-match Haka challenge by lining up in an eye-catching V-shape formation.
“We’ve got a responsibility to light the crowd up,” Jones said. “We want to light the crowd up and whether it’s during the Haka or post the Haka, I don’t really care,” said Jones.
New Zealand have arrived in London on a six-game winning streak, but had lost six of their previous eight Tests to leave coach Ian Foster battling to stay in his job ahead of next year’s World Cup in France.
“We expect the best version of them. It’s the last game of their tour and they want to finish the tour well,” Jones said.
“It’s been a tough old year for them in which they’ve had a lot of criticism, but they ended up winning the Rugby Championship so they did well and that shows how much they can get their mind on the job.”
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Ian Foster’s position was the subject of intense speculation following New Zealand’s 1-2 series loss at home to Ireland earlier this year but a 35-23 win away to arch-rivals and world champions South Africa in August helped keep the coach in his job.
New Zealand went on to win the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship and they head into their final match of 2022 looking to remain unbeaten in their year-end Nations programme, with the Japan and Scotland wins separated by a 55-23 rout of Wales in Cardiff.
“We’re in a good space and I like where our game’s going,” said Foster ahead of next year’s World Cup in France.
Saturday’s match will be the first time England and New Zealand have met since England’s 19-7 World Cup semi-final win in Yokohama three years ago.
As for whether that result would have any bearing this weekend, Foster said: “I don’t think it’s relevant at all to where we’re at.
“And it’s probably not relevant at all to where England’s at right now, because they’re a team that’s searching for consistency and I’m not sure they’ll get a high motivation out of the 2019 game.”
Player to watch:
For England: It will be a very historic moment for England captain Owen Farrell when he leads the team in his 100th Test match. The controversial character will become only the third England rugby player to reach a century of caps for his country. Another talking point is Eddie Jones’ unusual step of naming two No.8s, Sam Simmonds and Billy Vunipola in his back row. The decision will probably give the team greater ball-carrying options. England centre Manu Tuilagi played standout roles in England’s last two victories over the All Blacks in 2012 and 2019. The 31-year-old dynamo states that building belief is a key factor in toppling the All Blacks.
For New Zealand: Brodie Retallick will become the 12th All Black to reach the 100th Test milestone and just the second lock forward in that illustrious group. Retallick and Whitelock will also create their own piece of history, setting a new world record of 64 Test starts together. The previous record (63) was held by South Africa’s Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield. The pair would want to celebrate the occasion with a mammoth display. After impressing on debut against Scotland last week, wing Mark Telea has been retained alongside 79-Test veteran TJ Perenara who will provide scrumhalf cover.
Head to head
@rugby365com: England by 5 points
England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Sam Simmonds, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Will Stuart, 19 David Ribbans, 20 Jack Willis, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Guy Porter, 23 Henry Slade
New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Scott Barrett, 5 Samuel Whitelock (Captain), 4Brodie Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 George Bower, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20Hoskins Sotutu, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 David Havili, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown
Date: Saturday, November 19
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off: 17.30 (17.30 GMT; 06.30 NZDT Sunday, November 20)
Expected weather: Light rain. High of 9°C and a low of 5°C
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant Referees: Damon Murphy (Australia) & Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
*Statistical data provided by Opta