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- International Match
- 21st Jun 2014
- KO 08:35
- Ground: Waikato Stadium
- Att: 25,800
New Zealand v England: Third Test preview
England have one final chance to beat the reigning world champions in their own back yard when they take on New Zealand in the third Test in Waikato on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
Having been beaten by a late, late try in the opening match in Auckland, Stuart Lancaster’s side saw their hopes of victory in Dunedin last week disappear during a disappointing 20-minute spell that saw them concede three tries.
While the series may be gone, the tourists are still playing for more than just pride at the home of the Chiefs franchise.
The all-conquering All Blacks are chasing a 17th successive Test win, which would equal the record for a top-tier nation. They have stood on the brink twice before, most recently in 2012 when England, of all teams, ended their winning run at Twickenham.
“We’ve acknowledged the fact that there is an opportunity there, but that doesn’t guarantee that it is going to happen,” captain Richie McCaw said after New Zealand’s final session on Friday.
“It will be a by-product of a good performance. It will be a nice thing to take away but there are 80 minutes to do it first.”
As the hosts target a place in the record books, England are instead aiming to finish a long season with a first win on New Zealand soil since 2003.
“Against the best team in the world it is about performance,” assistant coach Andy Farrell said. “It is about learning from past performances and knowing how to grab hold of the game by the scruff of the neck and take it all the way to a victory
“We want to win and want to end this series on a high, there’s no doubt about that.”
England have been forced to make a change to the team named in midweek, with Joe Launchbury replacing the injured Geoff Parling in the second row.
Lancaster had already shuffled things around with his initial selection, returning to the centre pairing of Kyle Eastmond and Manu Tuilagi that played so well in the first Test. Likewise, Freddie Burns returns to the no 10 jersey in place of Owen Farrell, who has a knee problem.
There is a chance for Chris Ashton on the wing after a try-scoring appearance off the bench last week, while in the pack Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Billy Vunipola are all given starts.
As for the All Blacks, Kieran Read is fit to take his place at the back of their pack. His return to the starting XV means a switch of position for Jerome Kaino, while Liam Messam is dropped to the bench.
With Conrad Smith sidelined after breaking a thumb in the 28-27 win at Forsyth Bar Stadium, there is a first start in the centres for Malakai Fekitoa.
New Zealand: 15 B Smith, 14 Jane, 13 Fekitoa, 12 Nonu, 11 Savea, 10 Cruden, 9 A Smith; 1 Woodcock, 2 Coles, 3 Franks, 4 Retallick, 5 Whitelock, 6 Kaino, 7 McCaw (capt), 8 Read
Replacements: 16 Mealamu, 17 Crockett, 18 Faumuina, 19 Tuipulotu, 20 Messam, 21 Perenara, 22 Barrett, 23 Crotty
England: 15 Brown, 14 Ashton, 13 Tuilagi, 12 Eastmond, 11 Yarde, 10 Burns, 9 Youngs; 1 Marler, 2 Hartley, 3 Wilson, 4 Lawes, 5 Launchbury, 6 Wood, 7 Robshaw, 8 B Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Webber, 17 Mullan, 18 Brookes, 19 Attwood, 20 Morgan, 21 Dickson, 22 Cipriani, 23 Burrell
Watch New Zealand v England live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 8am on Saturday
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Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com