As the national football team ended their short stay in Brazil, England’s senior rugby union team will be looking to avoid defeat against The All Blacks come Saturday. The match will take place in Hamilton, with the squad needing to restore faith in their progress towards the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The untimely withdrawal of Geoff Parling won’t help their cause, but the team needs to gather themselves and retain a focus on competing from all fronts early doors. Doing the basics well from back to front at the outset can help build a platform, to regain an edge that has been sorely missing of late. It is likely that Joe Launchbury will step in for Parling who has been dominant in the tackle and overseen the side’s lineouts in the previous two tests.[quote align=”left” name=”Andy Farrell” role=”England backs coach”]Losing Geoff is a big loss but we do have great cover there. There are a couple of hungry boys in that second-row now eager to show what they have to offer. Joe (Launchbury) was disappointed not to be starting and he has now licked his wounds. Courtney (Lawes) has run the line-out for us in the Six Nations.[/quote]
England head coach Stuart Lancaster has refuted the idea that the changes made for the third test are experimental. The alterations are instead to unlock more than their drive and commitment has thus far, though injuries have naturally caused a selection headache. England unravelled with 5 minutes to play during the first test, and didn’t get into gear after half time in last week’s encounter. They have looked competitive for large parts of both tests but have failed to capitalise or maintain their shape at important times.
It is worth noting that only in 1973 and 2003 have England won on New Zealand territory. Their competitors should also come into the match with the most positive of mind sets, as they lead 2-0 after hard fought victories in both Aucklund and Dunedin. Furthermore, The All Blacks, who will entertain the visitors at Waikato for the first time in 16 years, are looking to build on their previous wins to gather momentum for the upcoming Rugby Championship.
All Blacks coach Steve Hanson has reiterated the importance of matching England’s intensity despite the series being won. He stressed that the team should still be endeavouring to ‘improve their skills right across the park’ whilst having ‘the energy to play the game at high speed and high intensity’.
Cory Jane, Ben Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Malakai Fekitoa, Aaron Cruden, Julian Savea, Aaron Smith, Tony Woodcock, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallik, Jerome Kaino, Samuel Whitelock, Ritchie McCaw(C), Kieran Read.
Replacements: Wyatt Crockett, Keven Mealamu, Liam Messam, Charlie Faumuina, Patrick Tuipulotu, TJ Perenara, Ryan Crotty, Beauden Barrett.
Manu Tuilagi, Mike Brown, Marland Yarde, Kyle Eastmond, Chris Ashton, Ben Youngs, Freddie Burns, Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley, Geoff Parling, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, David Wilson, Billy Vunipola, Chris Robshaw(C).
Replacements: Danny Cipriani, Ben Morgan, Lee Dickson, Joe Launchbury, Luther Burrell, Rob Webber, Matt Mullan, Kieran Brookes.