Farrell injury woe for England

Owen Farrell will miss the 3rd Test against New Zealand in Hamilton after suffering a strain to the medial ligament in his left knee.  Rugby Injury

Farrell has made the flyhalf position his own in recent times for England and his loss will be a hammer blow for Stuart Lancaster’s men as they look to eke out a win over the All Blacks.
His injury does however open the door for youngster Freddie Burns to add to his 4 caps as well as potentially allowing the mecurial Danny Cipriani a spot on the bench.
Cipriani has been included in the England squad after a lenghty spell in the international wilderness. The former Melboure Rebels man gets his chance to impress when he starts at pivot against the Crusaders in England’s mid-week game on Tuesday.
Farrell will stay with the squad for the remainder of the tour before returning home for further assessment and treatment by Saracens in conjunction with the England medical team.
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “The knee has been scanned and there is a strain there.
“It’s disappointing for Owen as he was desperate to play in the final Test but such is his character that he is already working on his rehab and still contributing to the tour.
“Fortunately we have three other flyhalves to call on and we’ll make that selection call over the next few days.
“The squad trained well this morning and we will narrow down selection over the next 24 hours following the game this evening.”
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England bring in their big guns (team sheet)

England coach Stuart Lancaster has made five changes to his team’s starting line-up for the second Test against New Zealand in TeamsheetsDunedin on Saturday.

Lancaster called in some backline reinforcements for the must-win encounter at the indoor stadium.

With his entire squad now available, Lancaster selected the backline combination that England used in the Six Nations over the supposedly “second string” line-up that pushed the All Blacks close in a 15-20 defeat in the first Test last week.

He recalled centres Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell, pivot Owen Farrell and scrumhalf Danny Care, as well as naming Tom Wood at blindside flank in place of James Haskell.

Manusamoa Tuilagi switches from the centre to right wing, with Marland Yarde moving to the left wing to accommodate him.

Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Chris Ashton and Billy Vunipola are named on the replacements bench, while Kieran Brookes comes into the match-day squad for the first time.

Lancaster said the strong showing last week – when players who were involved in the Premiership Final were not available – meant picking a team for the second Test in Dunedin was always going to be difficult.

“It’s been evident in training all along just how intense competition for places is but especially now we have the guys who arrived at the end of last week,” he said.

“We knew selection for this Test was always going to be tough, with the players who played at Eden Park putting their hands up and those who watched from the stands.”

England need to win on Saturday to keep the three-Test series alive.

“I am sure it will be a fantastic occasion in Dunedin and we are really looking forward to challenging ourselves against the All Blacks,” the England mentor said.

“With the Crusaders game coming up around the corner and the third Test in Hamilton, all our squad will get opportunities which will be great experience as we continue to develop our depth in the build up to the World Cup.”

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Danny Care, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Chris Ashton.

Preview: England vs New Zealand

THE FACTSRW Stamp

Unbelievably, both fly halves in this match have been nominated for the IRB Player of the Year Award. However when Owen Farrell lines up next to Dan Carter the latter’s class will shine through. Owen Farrell is selected to start for the first time since June after an injury to incumbent fly half Toby Flood. This will be a chance for the world to see just why the IRB nominated the rookie as Player of the year. We are all still wondering. While Farrell is the only change to the starting 15, Freddie Burns enters the match day 23 as fly half back up and Courtney Lawes replaces Mouritz Botha as the replacement lock.

The All Blacks have welcomed back two star players in the form of Dan Carter and Kevin Mealamu ahead of their final tour match against England. Both players have been included in the starting line up with Carter replacing Aaron Cruden and Mealamu in for banned hooker Andrew Hore. The final change to the side that smashed Wales last weekend comes in the second row. Brodie Retallick is favoured over Luke Romano in a “horses for courses” selection. The All Blacks have not lost in Europe since 2002 and will be looking to end their tour undefeated once again. Let’s see if England can freeze hell and turn over the world champs!

THE BATTLES

While the battle that has been hyped up the most is between rookie second choice fly half and fellow IRB Player of the Year nominee Dan Carter, this will not be the most interesting. It will be one way traffic – Carters way.

Ma’a Nonu vs the big man Brad Barritt will be a great battle, they would not have met face to face since Barritt was playing Super Rugby in Durban. Expect hard hitting tackles and big busting runs.

In the scrum Alex Corbisiero will need to front up and prove his critics wrong by going head to head withn Owen Franks. This is a tough ask for any prop.

THE TEAMS

England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 David Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 James Haskell, 21 Danny Care, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Jonathan Joseph.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Victor Vito, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ben Smith.

THE HISTORY

2010: New Zealand won 26-16, London
2009: New Zealand won 19-6, London
2008: New Zealand won 32-6, London
2008: New Zealand won 44-12, Christchurch
2008: New Zealand won 37-20, Auckland
2006: New Zealand won 41-20, London
2005: New Zealand won 23-19, London
2004: New Zealand won 36-12, Auckland
2004: New Zealand won 36-3, Dunedin
2003: England won 15-13, Wellington

THE PREDICTION

There can be only one winner – the world champs.

New Zealand by 20 – 30 points

THE TIME

England face the World Champions at Twickenham on Saturday, KO 14:30 GMT (16:30 CAT)

MM

Farrell vs Carter at Twickenham

Unbelievably, both have been nominated for the IRB Player of the Year Award, but on Saturday when Owen Farrell lines up next to Dan Carter the latter’s class will shine through.

Owen Farrell is selected to start for the first time since June after an injury to incumbent fly half Toby Flood. This will be a chance for the world to see just why the IRB nominated the rookie as Player of the year. We are all still wondering.

While Farrell is the only change to the starting 15, Freddie Burns enters the match day 23 as fly half back up and Courtney Lawes replaces Mouritz Botha as the replacement lock.

“We are delighted that Courtney has got an opportunity. He has worked hard to get back in contention and what better game for him to make an impact. The same with Freddie Burns, who has had a great Premiership season so far, and we are looking forward to seeing him contribute should he get his chance.” Said England coach Stuart Lancaster.

Lancaster then stated that his team are fired up and ready to end the All Blacks 20 match unbeaten streak.

“We asked for a big response from the players, after [the loss to] Australia and we got one last Saturday against South Africa, although ultimately we were denied, That frustration has been channelled this week and the whole squad has reacted with a determination to get a victory against the top team in the world.” Lancaster said.

England face the World Champions at Twickenham on Saturday, KO 14:30 GMT (16:30 CAT)

MM

England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 David Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 James Haskell, 21 Danny Care, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Jonathan Joseph.