The All Blacks and England have named their teams for the final game of the November Internationals, ending the All Blacks 2012 End of Year Tour. It has been a long season for the Southern Hemisphere teams, and All Blacks coach Steve Hansen conceded his side was showing signs of fatigue in the Wales game. This will be exacerbated by news that a stomach bug has swept through the New Zealand camp, laying up a significant amount of players.
|Meanwhile, the England team has found its decision making heavily scrutinised by the local media, where the option of whether to kick or not to kick at goal in the dying minutes of games has been criticised. While it may mean little to the players, the fact England were still in the game against both Australia and South Africa in the last minutes shows they are getting closer. They will be desperate to finish the November Internationals on a high.||“England Must Lift Game to Win” -Parling|
The All Blacks certainly won’t be lacking for motivation either. It has been a long season, but an extremely successful one. In fact, if they can avoid a loss it would be one of the few unbeaten seasons ever in International rugby. They currently sit on 19 tests without loss.
New Zealand has found themselves under scrutiny in the UK following Andrew Hore’s striking of Wales lock Bradley Davies, and subsequent five week ban. England will be hoping that the enforced insulation has not galvanised the team.
The team announcements contain three of the four players named as IRB Player of the Year finalists, Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and controversial pick Owen Farrell. Carter appears to have shaken off the leg injury that ruled him out of the Wales game last weekend.
England v New Zealand
Saturday 1 December 14:30 (local) at Twickenham Stadium, London
RugbyFix Pick: NEW ZEALAND to beat England by 10
England team to play New Zealand
15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu 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.
Reserves: 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 team to play England
Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Daniel Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano, Victor Vito, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ben Smith.