Injured Parling to miss third Test
England’s prospects of departing New Zealand with a precious All Blacks scalp have dwindled after Geoff Parling was ruled out of the climax to the series with a hamstring injury, writes Duncan Bech.
Hailed earlier this week by head coach Stuart Lancaster as England’s “outstanding forward” of the tour, Parling’s absence from today’s Waikato Stadium showdown is a savage blow. Joe Launchbury will resume his successful RBS 6 Nations secondrow partnership with Courtney Lawes by taking Parling’s place in the starting XV with Dave Attwood promoted to the bench.
“Geoff’s been in great form and has led from the front very well as far as the forward pack is concerned,” Andy Farrell said, the assistant coach, said. “He was struggling at the beginning of the week and did everything he possibly could to get right, but he isn’t right to play at Test match intensity.”
Farrell gave short shrift to comments made by New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen that England face a dilemma over their tactics after discovering they are unable to match the All Blacks at a hightempo game. After last Saturday’s 28-27 victory, Hansen said: “They are in a bit of a quandary really because they took us on in Dunedin playing a game of real pace and worked out they couldn’t.”
A week earlier Hansen had complained that England had attempted to slow the game down at Eden Park.
“Well, we didn’t try to slow the game down in the first Test and they thought that was our tactics then. Now they’re saying we’re trying to speed the game up and can’t do that,” Farrell said. “The reality is that the game always takes its own path and we’ve got to be in control of what we do. We’ll be ready for either way of playing.”