Eng­land look to keep mer­cu­rial Carter and Co in check

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

STAR fly­half Dan Carter will re­turn from sus­pen­sion to play Eng­land at Twick­en­ham this week­end with a chance to be­come New Zealand’s high­est points-scorer in Test rugby.

Carter needs only two points – the equiv­a­lent of a con­ver­sion – to pass An­drew Mehrtens’ record of 967.

Carter was banned for one match for a high tackle in his man-of-the­match per­for­mance in the 19-12 win over Wales at Cardiff 10 days ago.

This will be his 65th Test, five fewer than Mehrtens had in 2004.

Mean­while, Biar­ritz cen­tre Ay­oola Erinle will make his first start for Eng­land, and lock Si­mon Shaw and flanker Joe Wors­ley re­turned to the lineup on Wed­nes­day in the only home team changes.

Af­ter the All Blacks fielded a de­cid­edly sec­ond-string side that beat Italy 20-6 last week­end, coach Gra­ham Henry re­tained only winger Si­tiveni Si­vi­vatu from the back­line in Mi­lan, and only lock Tom Don­nelly in the pack on Wed­nes­day.

Flanker Richie McCaw, short­listed this week for an­other world player of the year award, was back to cap­tain the side, with vet­eran loose­head prop Tony Wood­cock fi­nally free of a back com­plaint he picked up in the tour-open­ing win over Aus­tralia at Tokyo.

Be­cause of a ham­string strain to Corey Flynn, who scored a try against Italy, he and Aled de Mal­manche were brack­eted on the bench as re­place­ment hooker. De Mal­manche broke off his hol­i­day on Wed­nes­day to join the squad as cover.

“It doesn’t get much big­ger than Eng­land at Twick­en­ham,” Henry said. “It will be an­other fan­tas­tic chal­lenge for the All Blacks. We are fo­cused on pre­par­ing well this week and looking for­ward to play­ing a de­ter­mined Eng­land side.”

Erinle, the sev­ens player who made his de­but as a re­place­ment in the 18-9 loss to Aus­tralia this month, was given a start out of po­si­tion at in­side cen­tre by Eng­land man­ager Martin John­son. He was orig­i­nally drafted into the squad to re­place the in­jured Mike Tin­dall.

The 29-year-old Nige­rian-bor n Erinle failed to win a reg­u­lar place at Le­ices­ter and con­sid­ered quit­ting last year when he went on loan to sec­ond-tier club Not­ting­ham.

But like fly­half Jonny Wilkin­son and hooker Steve Thomp­son, Erinle’s ca­reer was re­ju­ve­nated by a move to France.

“My prospects of play­ing for Eng­land were a dream that had been and gone,” Erinle said. “You try to hold on to it, but as time goes on it starts to fade away. When I went to Biar­ritz I just thought, ‘At least I will be play­ing rugby and en­joy­ing my­self ’.

“The Le­ices­ter coaches were apolo­getic about the fact I wasn’t re­ally given a chance and I had to make a de­ci­sion. The op­por­tu­nity came up at Biar­ritz and I took it with both hands.”

Shane Geraghty, Louis Dea­con and Tom Croft dropped to the bench, where they were joined by util­ity back Mathew Tait and fit-again prop David Wil­son.

There was one po­si­tional change, with Ugo Monye switch­ing to wing and Mark Cueto mov­ing to full­back.

John­son re­sisted pres­sure to make whole­sale changes to the side that was jeered for its dull and lack- lus­tre play in last week­end’s 16-9 victory over Ar­gentina.

“Let’s not for­get we won against Ar­gentina, a fact that ap­pears to have been lost,” John­son said. “We won against Ar­gentina and dug our­selves out of a hole.

“I’d rather win a game and then get crit­i­cised for style af­ter­wards. We were a bit con­ser­va­tive in the first half on Satur­day. We fixed it, maybe later than we should have done, but we got the game won.”

The All Blacks have won 25 of their 32 matches against Eng­land.

Last year’s 32-6, was their big­gest win at Twick­en­ham. – Sapa-AP

BIG TEST: Ay­oola Erinle wins his first start to­day.

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