What is it?
England’s second Test of the autumn internationals – and it’s against the All Blacks at Twickenham. The world champions. No pressure then.
When is it?
Tomorrow – Saturday, November 10.
What time is kick-off?
What TV channel is it on?
Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action.
What is the team news?
Chris Ashton makes his first England start for four years as one of three changes for Saturday’s long-awaited clash with New Zealand at Twickenham.
Ashton lines-up on the right wing in place of Jack Nowell after impressing during his 15-minute spell as a substitute in the 12-11 victory over South Africa that opened the Quilter Internationals.
The 31-year-old has amassed 40 caps in an international career interrupted by suspension, falling out of favour with successive England coaches and a season-long spell in Toulon.
Nowell drops to the bench but there is no place for Manu Tuilagi despite his recovery from the groin strain that ruled him out against the Springboks.
The two other changes see Ben Moon come in for Alec Hepburn at loosehead prop and Sam Underhill replaces Tom Curry, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the autumn by an ankle injury.
Courtney Lawes returns to the bench after overcoming a lower back problem, forcing Zach Mercer out of the matchday 23.
Owen Farrell co-captains the team alongside Dylan Hartley and needs only one more point to reach 700 for England.
An injury to Joe Moody has forced All Blacks coach Steve Hansen to tweak his strongest possible side for Saturday’s November Test against England at Twickenham.
Moody suffered a torn eyelid during training earlier this week and has been ruled out for up to six weeks, with Karl Tu’inukuafe replacing him as loosehead prop at Twickenham.
“Joe Moody has found a way to get himself injured in unusual fashion this year,” Hansen said. “Anyone else it would probably have missed his eye.
“(The) plastic surgeon has recommended six weeks and as our doctor described it, your eyelid is your window washer so if you’ve got half of it missing… it will impact your eyesight long term, so we need to make sure he is okay.”
Hansen has also decided to stick with the dual playmaker options he used against Australia in Yokohama last month with Damian McKenzie retained at full-back and Beauden Barrett at fly-half.
Richie Mo’unga, who impressed at fly-half against Japan last week in Tokyo, has also been named in the match-day 23.
Aaron Smith, who was on the bench for the Australia game, has regained the starting scrum-half role from TJ Perenara, who drops into the replacements.
Centre Jack Goodhue has also returned to the starting side after he missed both Tests in Japan due to glandular fever. He flew straight to England from New Zealand.
Goodhue will link with Sonny Bill Williams in midfield with an eye on next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Hansen has already seen how well Williams and Ryan Crotty play together, but with Goodhue fast developing as the first-choice centre, the NZ coach wants to see how the pair gel.
Former starting hooker Dane Coles has also returned to the 23, but will come off the bench after Codie Taylor took his game to new levels this year.
Coles started last week’s win over Japan after a serious knee injury that he sustained against France last November kept him on the sidelines for all of this year.
What are England’s autumn fixtures?
England 12 South Africa 11…. Twickenham…. Saturday, November 3…. 3pm GMT…. (Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Action)
England vs New Zealand…. Twickenham…. Saturday, November 10…. 3pm GMT…. (Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Action)
England vs Japan…. Twickenham…. Saturday, November 17…. 3pm GMT…. (Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Action)
England vs Australia…. Twickenham…. Saturday, November 24…. 3pm GMT…. (Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Action)
What are they saying?
England boss Eddie Jones on starting Chris Ashton:
“It’s more of an order change. Jack played exceptionally well for us last week but when you’re playing against New Zealand the 80 minutes are important.
“Jack has got an incredible work rate so we feel he’ll be enormously valuable for us in the last 20 minutes.
“Chris can sniff a try from anywhere. To beat New Zealand you have got to score tries. He’s in good form and has looked sharp, so we’ve given him the nod to start.”
Jones on not playing Manu Tuilagi:
“Manu is just not quite right. He’s nearly there and we feel like he’ll be of enormous value to us in the future. Rather than take any risks with him we’re being quite conservative in his management.
“He’s at 99.9999 per cent but he’s just not quite right so we’re going to see if we get him 100 per cent right. It would be nice if that’s for Japan. We’ll worry about that next week.”
Jones on replacing Tom Curry with Sam Underhill:
“We looked at a number of possibilities for (Tom) Curry but we wanted a like-for-like player and (Sam) Underhill is a like-for-like player.
“Sam has had a few injury issues but this is a great opportunity for him. He’s strong at the breakdown good chop tackler and will certainly fill the role that Tom did so well in last week.”
NZ coach Steve Hansen on facing England:
“We know we’ll be up against a very determined and well-coached English side.
“They’ll have gained a lot of confidence from their win over South Africa and be keen to make a statement in front of their passionate Twickenham home crowd.
“However, for us it’s about making our own statement. To do that, we’ll need to bring our own intensity and accuracy to an even higher level throughout the game.
“It’s a great opportunity to assess where our game is at and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Hansen on picking Jack Goodhue at centre:
“Jack has trained the house down so you’ve got to trust the medical people. They say he’s ready to go so he’s ready to go. We’re blessed with some very good midfielders at the moment. It doesn’t matter which one you play we’ve just got work out what combinations really gel well together and what we can do with the bench.”
What’s our prediction?
Looking down the names in that New Zealand side gives you goosebumps – it’s got quality right the way through it. World-class players in every position. Incredible strength in depth. And against an England side hit hard by injury. If both teams were full strength, maybe, just maybe, it might have been close at Twickenham. But England aren’t at full strength. There can only be one winner.
Predicted score: England 13 New Zealand 31.
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