Re­venge for last year’s Eng­land de­feat on minds of All Blacks

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

FLY­HALF Daniel Carter will be­come the fifth New Zealand player to at­tain 100 Test caps af­ter he was named in the side to play Eng­land at Twick­en­ham to­day (kick-off 4.30pm).

The 31- year- old Carter, the world’s lead­ing Test points scorer, fol­lows cap­tain Richie McCaw, for­mer full­back Mils Mu­li­aina, hooker Keven Mealamu and prop Tony Wood­cock in reach­ing the mile­stone.

Carter’s march to the mark, how­ever, has slowed over the last two sea­sons af­ter he suf­fered a groin in­jury dur­ing the 2011 World Cup which the All Blacks won on home turf.

He has ap­peared in just five of New Zealand’s 12 Tests so far this sea­son af­ter break­ing his hand, suf­fer­ing a calf in­jury then be­ing crunched by South Africa hooker Bis­marck du Plessis at Eden Park in Septem­ber that caused a shoul­der in­jury.

Carter’s ab­sence has al­lowed Aaron Cru­den to de­velop into a world-class fly­half and with Beau­den Bar­rett also start­ing to cap­i­talise on his few op­por­tu­ni­ties in the po­si­tion, the vet­eran’s se­lec­tion for to­day was by no means as­sured.

Rookie winger Charles Pi­u­tau, who scored one try and set up another for Kieran Read in last week’s 26-19 vic­tory over France in Paris, was given the nod ahead of Cory Jane on the right wing with Ju­lian Savea re­stored to the left wing af­ter he re­cov­ered from ill­ness.

Coach Steve Hansen made just one change to the squad that beat France, with Steven Lu­atua com­ing on to the bench for Sam Cane for the match at Twick­en­ham, which has been hotly an­tic­i­pated af­ter Stuart Lancaster’s side ru­ined the world cham­pi­ons’ bid for an un­de­feated sea­son in De­cem­ber.

“This is a Test match we are very much look­ing for­ward to,” said Hansen.

“We were com­pletely out­played by them last year but this is an op­por­tu­nity for us to see if we have im­proved our game to the point where we can be com­pet­i­tive.

“The play­ers are ex­cited be­cause this is what Test rugby is all about. We are ex­pect­ing a re­ally phys­i­cal game with huge in­ten­sity, but also a game that will have high lev­els of en­ergy, pace and skills.

“We know the Eng­land coach­ing staff have done a lot of home­work so this may be a game where we add a few new things they haven’t seen be­fore.”

The All Blacks have won all of their matches this sea­son and are seek­ing to be­come the first side in the pro­fes­sional era to go un­beaten through­out the year.

They have won 24 of their 26 Tests since Hansen took over as Squads: ENG­LAND Mike Brown; Chris Ash­ton, Joel Tomkins, Billy Twel­ve­trees, Ben Fo­den; Owen Far­rell, Lee Dick­son; Billy Vu­nipola, Chris Rob­shaw (capt), Tom Wood; Court­ney Lawes, Joe Launch­bury; Dan Cole, Dy­lan Hart­ley, Joe Mar­ler Re­place­ments: Tom Youngs, Matt Mul­lan, David Wil­son, Ge­off Par­ling, Ben Mor­gan, Ben Youngs, Toby Flood, Alex Goode NEW ZEALAND: Is­rael Dagg, Charles Pi­u­tau, Ben Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Ju­lian Savea, Daniel Carter, Aaron Smith,Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt), Liam Mes­sam, Sam White­lock, Brodie Re­tal­lick, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Wood­cock Re­place­ments: Dane Coles, Wy­att Crock­ett, Char­lie Fau­muina, Luke Ro­mano, Steven Lu­atua, Taw­era Kerr-Bar­low, Aaron Cru­den, Ryan Crotty head coach fol­low­ing the suc­cess­ful World Cup cam­paign.

Eng­land have re­called prop Dan Cole in the only change to their start­ing line-up. Cole, on the bench for last week’s 31- 12 win over Ar­gentina, has changed places with David Wil­son, who started against the Pu­mas.

Lancaster’s de­ci­sion to re­tain the bulk of his start­ing side means New Zealand-born hooker Dy­lan Hart­ley is now set to win his 50th Test cap this weekend.

“It’s a great achieve­ment for Dy­lan to reach 50 caps. We are a young side but one that is grow­ing with ev­ery game and it’s im­por­tant to have lead­ers like Dy­lan,” Lancaster said.

There are two more changes to the bench with Matt Mul­lan now among the re­place­ments, fol­low­ing knee in­juries suf­fered by Alex Cor­bisiero and Mako Vu­nipola.

Scrumhalf Ben Youngs is back on the bench af­ter a hip in­jury, with Danny Care drop­ping out of the match­day 23.

In­jures to wings Mar­land Yarde (hip) and Chris­tian Wade (ham­string) see Chris Ash­ton given another chance to try to re­gain form.

“We have had some en­forced changes with Alex and Mako un­avail­able and we have been un­able to con­sider a num­ber of play­ers due to short and long-term in­juries,” Lancaster said.

“But we are ready for the chal­lenge of play­ing a top-qual­ity side in New Zealand and are ex­cited about play­ing at Twick­en­ham.”

In all, there are seven sur­vivors from the start­ing XV that en­joyed an Eng­land record 38-21 win over New Zealand at Twick­ehn­ham last year in Ash­ton, a try-scorer in that match, full­back Mike Brown, fly­half Owen Far­rell, cap­tain Chris Rob­shaw, flank Tom Wood, lock Joe Launch­bury and Cole.

That de­feat rep­re­sents the All Blacks’ only loss in 33 Tests since Au­gust 2011 – the year they won the World Cup.

Eng­land, mean­while, are look­ing to make it 10 wins out of 11 this weekend and record their sev­enth straight vic­tory at Twick­en­ham. – Sapa-AFP

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