Lancaster names England team for New Zealand second test

lancaster

England have made five changes to their side for the second Test against New Zealand on Saturday, with Manu Tuilagi moving from outside centre to the wing.

Luther Burrell starts at outside centre alongside Billy Twelvetrees, who has recovered from an end of season ankle injury to resume the Six Nations partnership.

Scrum half Danny Care has also recovered from a shoulder injury which and plays alongside fly half Owen Farrell, replacing benched Ben Youngs and Freddie Burns.

Marland Yarde switches to the left wing, while centre Kyle Eastmond and wing Jonny may drop out of the match day 23.

There is only one change in the pack; Tom Wood replacing James Haskell at blindside flanker. Hooker Rob Webber, lock Geoff Parling and Ben Morgan keep their shirts despite the presences of Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Billy Vunipola, who all come onto the bench.

Uncapped tight-head prop Kieran Brookes makes his first appearance on the bench too, replacing Henry Thomas.

Speaking about the competition for places, Lancaster said: “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.

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

“We believe that this is a team which can level the series in Dunedin but we are also conscious that there are two Tests and a significant game against the Crusaders left on this tour and we will use those opportunities to test the whole squad.”

Lancaster added: “Kyle, James, Jonny, Ben and Freddie did a great job and deserve a huge amount of credit and now the pressure is on those now starting and coming on to the bench to raise the bar even higher.

“Manu played all his England age-grade rugby on the wing and has trained well there for us so we are confident that he can bring his skill set to that position.

“We’re also delighted that Kieran Brookes has the opportunity to win his first cap off the bench as yet another example of someone coming through our Under 20 programme into the senior team.”

England team to face New Zealand:
15 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 27 caps)
14 Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 23 caps)
13 Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
12 Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 2 caps)
11 Marland Yarde (London Irish, 3 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 24 caps)
9 Danny Care (Harlequins, 47 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 20 caps)
2 Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, 6 caps)
3 David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 35 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 20 caps)
5 Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers, 20 caps)
6 Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 28 caps)
7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 26 caps)
8 Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 21 caps)

Replacements:

16 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 55 caps)
17 Matt Mullan (London Wasps, 3 caps)
18 Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)
19 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 10 caps)
20 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 8 caps)
21 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 36 caps)
22 Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby, 4 caps)
23 Chris Ashton (Saracens, 37 caps)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

52 thoughts on “Lancaster names England team for New Zealand second test

  1. Nope. I’m not sure why lawes isn’t starting, if 12trees and Burrell are restored on 6 nations form, lawes should be in there too. NZ are gonna LOVE peppering Tuilagi with all kinds of kicks, chip kicks, up and unders, all that stuff. Eastmond should be on the bench, not Ashton, who probably deserves selection but is not versatile enough to be on the bench. Should start or nothing. I cannot see this going well. We may well end up losing by more than last week. All that said, I was very pessimistic last week and that turned out alright, I suppose and I will be cheering them on vociferously.

    1. Eugh, Ashton. Can score tries (at club level) but can’t tackle for toffee.

      Looking forward to seeing Manu on the wing. Agree the All Blacks will target him, but Brown is at the back to field the kicks.

      Burrell is too good to leave out and Bomber prefers an additional playmaker.

      I for one am relishing the results, could this be the WC backline? Because it looks tastier than a 16oz ribeye with black pepper sauce.

      BOSH!

  2. Ashton on the bench over Eastmond is a joke. Don’t understand it at all, esp with 12t only just back from injury.

    Wood, Farrell & 12t get their places back automatically but not Lawes? Parling played well but Lawes has been superb.

    I was feeling quite confident for this weekend. Feel less so now.

  3. Bit disappointed to see our best attacking player out of position, especially to accommodate a player just back from injury. It also means sacrificing a versatile bench option – such as Foden or Eastmond – for Chris Ashton just in case it goes badly.
    I also don’t see why Lawes is on the bench, Parling had a great game and will likely have another but Lawes – like Wood – has been instrumental in Northampton’s double. He’s a player in sensational form who knows what it takes to avoid being nearly-men.

    However I was this doubtful when I read Burns would start ahead of Cipriani, hopefully I’ll get proved wrong again.

    Who was it that said Lancaster might replace Thomas for a stronger scrummaging tighthead to make dropping Attwood easier? Nice call.

    1. That was me. However I never saw Ashton coming. Still could be worse he could have put Barritt in there instead!

  4. Just realised we have zero cover for fullback. Well that’s Brown jinxed then!

    SERIOUSLY! No Foden on the bench. Heck even Cipriani would have made more sense. Oh god. I have a very bad feeling about this…

  5. A tinker too far with a back line that made more line breaks than New Zealand and managed to contain them when defending. I agree that Ashtons tackling is dubious and with Savea starting ….
    Kyle Eastmond would be better on the bench.
    Tuilagi would be more effective at thirteen with Burrell inside.
    One weeks training to refresh Tuilagi with the inns and outs of the position he cut his teeth in doesn’t’ seem quite enough.
    Jonny May was starting to settle into his own.
    Looking forward to finding out why Lancaster is making these decisions on Saturday when I am proved incredibly wrong!

  6. I reserve the right to be proved utterly wrong but this has the makings of a disaster.

    Attwood, Thomas and May must be spitting blood

    Our two best back line players were Eastmond and Tuilagi and we’ve dropped one completely and are playing the other in a position he’s never played in at this kind of level.

    This is PSA style selection

    I feel sorry for Tuilagi who will get mercilessly targeted. Brown will help but what happens if Brown gets crocked?

  7. Lawes on the bench, Attwood dropped. Ben Youngs makes the bench after a poor game over Lee Dickson. Matt Mulan will he be used?

    Ashton is on bench for Tuilagi in case it’s a disaster. Burns is on the bench could be interesting to see how much a impact he could be. Farrel walks in to his spot. Looks like Lancaster likes his perking order which explains Lawes on the bench.

    May, Eastmond & especially Chris Penell for his 1min of international game time feel sorry for.

  8. I think this selection has been a bit hung ho in the backline, the guys were excellent in 1st test and didnt deserve to drop out completely.

    Manu on wing not only removes our prime attacking platform but changes the bench dynamic for the worse IMO. Be interesting to see if Englands style changes with this move?

  9. Well as the experiments of playing fullbacks on the wing weren’t entirely successful it’s now time to start experimenting with centres. Brown gets moved out of position to somewhere he’s less effective to accommodate a worse full back, history repeating and lesson not learned. Also I’m sure Manu will got back to Tigers and play centre so the likelihood of him becoming an accomplished and complete international wing seems pretty low.

    Still it will be fun to watch, he’ll get targeted with high balls which will seem like a great idea …. until he catches one and runs it back!

    I think I could have tolerated this experiment a little better if Eastmond had retained the shirt, on the basis of last week I don’t agree with a selection of 36 over Eastmond. The Manu experiment meaning there’s no bench spot for him either is crazy.

    I’d prefer some of the starting and bench shirts to be switched in some of the forward positions, but I can appreciate it’s a tricky balance.

    Pleased we are looking at another tight head option than Thomas. I guess no bench spot for Attwood means they can’t risk a ‘mobile’ tight head and need a big lump, it must be close between Brookes and Sinckler.

  10. Very frustrated trying to post my comments. On attempt 5 now.

    Ok. I’m going left field and am going to say that I like this selection. Someone said in another article that SL isn’t going to die wondering! I think that it is great that he has prioritised the RWC, and is going to experiment with Manu on the wing. We will know one way or another by Saturday lunchtime!

    Webber, Parling and Morgan were all excellent in the last game and are rightfully rewarded for that. Billy V and Hartley coming back from injuries makes those decisions a bit easier. La wes is the unlucky one, but then he got his starting chance when Parling was injured. We are lucky with the depth in the squad at lock. Obviously Brighty has been on the phone to SL about Parling too!

    Would like to see some more experimentation in the centres as to what our best combination is but with Manu on the wing, better to have a tried and tested combination, which if we all remember worked very well in the 6N.

    Ashton on the bench is my only niggle but what SL has done is create an impact bench. Just imagine if you had Mako V and Dan Cole to come on as well! I think we lost it in the subs last week. SL isn’t going to go down that way again. Have to say that a fresh Ashton coming on could work. He is in good form and he is a specialist if the Manu experiment goes wrong. Am praying Brown doesn’t get targeted (i mean injured) early doors.

    Roll on Saturday!

  11. Attempt 6! Will post my comments one section at a time.
    Ok. I’m going left field and am going to say that I like this selection. Someone said in another article that SL isn’t going to die wondering! I think that it is great that he has prioritised the RWC, and is going to experiment with Manu on the wing. We will know one way or another by Saturday lunchtime!

    Webber, Parling and Morgan were all excellent in the last game and are rightfully rewarded for that. Billy V and Hartley coming back from injuries makes those decisions a bit easier. La wes is the unlucky one, but then he got his starting chance when Parling was injured. We are lucky with the depth in the squad at lock. Obviously Brighty has been on the phone to SL about Parling too!

  12. Would like to see some more experimentation in the centres as to what our best combination is but with Manu on the wing, better to have a tried and tested combination, which if we all remember worked very well in the 6N.

    Ashton on the bench is my only niggle but what SL has done is create an impact bench. Just imagine if you had Mako V and Dan Cole to come on as well! I think we lost it in the subs last week. SL isn’t going to go down that way again. Have to say that a fresh Ashton coming on could work. He is in good form and he is a specialist if the Manu experiment goes wrong. Am praying Brown doesn’t get targeted (i mean injured) early doors.

    Roll on Saturday!

  13. Would like to see some more experimentation in the centres as to what our best combination is but with Manu on the wing, better to have a tried and tested combination, which if we all remember worked very well in the 6N.

  14. Attempt 13. Grrrrr

    Ashton on the bench is my only niggle but what SL has done is create an impact bench. Just imagine if you had Mako V and Dan Cole to come on as well! I think we lost it in the subs last week. SL isn’t going to go down that way again. Have to say that a fresh Ashton coming on could work. He is in good form and he is a specialist if the Manu experiment goes wrong. Am praying Brown doesn’t get targeted (i mean injured) early doors.

  15. Attempt 14 now on another computer. Don’t know why I bother – the advantages of being stubborn I suppose!

    My only niggle was Ashton on the bench, but I can see why SL has done it, to provide impact and to cover if the Manu experiment goes wrong. Can you imagine if we had Mako V and Dan Coles to come on as well. What a bench! My only hope is that Brown isn’t targeted (I mean injured) early doors! I think that we lost the last test in the substitutions – that isn’t going to happen this time

    1. Staggy, really sorry about this, not sure what’s going on but we’re trying desperately to fix it! It’s something to do with the spam filters, but if you have this issue in future just pop me an email at jamie@therugbyblog.com, and I’ll jump online and un-spam the comment.

      Hopefully it’ll be fixed soon!

  16. First, Staggy, get in touch with Jamie on Twitter. I had the same problem and he unfiltered some of my posts which seems to have cleared the problem.

    Bonkers selection. Last Sat was the best performance I’ve seen from 10 through 15 from England under SL (yes, even including that win) and he mucks about with it all. Then he compounds it by making Ashton the cover.

    At least he did go for Parling.

    A result this weekend would show that SL is a genius. A hammering will raise all sorts of questions about whether less mucking about would have been better.

  17. Bonkers selection. Last Sat was the best performance I’ve seen from 10 through 15 from England under SL (yes, even including that win) and he mucks about with it all. Then he compounds it by making Ashton the cover.

    At least he did go for Parling.

    A result this weekend would show that SL is a genius. A hammering will raise all sorts of questions about whether less mucking about would have been better.

    1. Can’t see a hammering happening, although still have my money on nz, mainly because England are still developing, compared to the settled AB team and it is at home for them.

      Still hoping for an England win though and probably this is the most optimistic I’ve ever been before an AB game. Hoping I’m not setting myself up for a fall.

  18. If I were NZ, I’d be sticking the ball up on Brown from the first minute and absolutely hammering him. If he has to go off, presumably 36 will cover 15? I think he made a couple of appearances there when at Leicester.

    I fear for Tuilagi, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him actually catch a kick. He might turn out to be really good in the air, but I really doubt it, especially against the NZ kick chase.

    Should have had May or Foden on the bench instead of Ashton. He’s never going to come on anywhere other than wing, he either starts or not at all. Puts extra pressure on Brown.

    Really hope I am wrong but if a few things don’t go England’s way early on, things could get ugly.

    1. I’m just going to put it out there as well that NZ have form when it comes to taking out important players

      1. And that is my concern. By having no recognised FB cover in the squad, SL has painted a massive bullseye on Brown. Still maybe that is the strategy so they don’t target Manu too much!

  19. Very interesting, Manu on the wing could go either way but I’m excited to find out! I would love to see eastmond still involved but with 3 centres already starting plus Farnell who can cover 12 there was little chance. However i would much rather Foden than Ashton on the bench! What happens if Brown is injured? That is a major concern to be honest.
    Regarding Parling over Lawes, I’m surprised as Lawes has been awesome recently but out of the two, he is the better sub. Lancaster has spoke about Parling’s line out work being crucial last week. Not just claiming our own but really reading and disrupting NZ’s which starved them of quality ball, and that’s why he’s starting again.
    Otherwise, no surprises, looking forward to the impact of Billy V and Hartley, that will be crucial if it’s close.

  20. Well I am in the optimistic camp.

    I cannot believe for one moment that Tuilagi will be found wanting under the high ball. We don’t know of course, because at 13 it is not a required skill, but this is international rugby, and catching a high ball is a pre-requisite of wing play, so I trust the England coaching team to have checked whether Tuilagi has this in his locker.

    Personally disappointed not to see Eastmond and May in the team (though not completely surprised). As I said previously, I am not clear as to what more Twelvetrees offers than Eastmond.

    Very surprised to see Ashton on the bench.

    Equally surprised to see Brookes on the bench. Not seen too much of him, but he does look like he can hold a scrum up!

    1. Blub my concern is that its one thing catching a high ball in training but another thing entirely catching it during a test match, playing the best team in the world and with players like Savea competing for it

      You can’t train for that.

      I think this an utterly bizarre set of choices and if it were France, we’d all be shaking our heads and talking about those crazy French selections

      As for Ashton on the bench, well the mind truly boggles.

      1. To be fair, May was almost non existant inder high balls last match. There was a mix up with Brown going backwards and on a couple of kick chases he ended up about 5 meters away from where the ball landed and just looked puzzled.

      2. Yes I know what you mean, but my perspective is that I don’t imagine this has escaped the England planners.

      3. added to which – would you want Tuilagi running at you from deep all day because you keep giving the ball to him. Most teams try to stop him getting ball.

  21. Wow I think it’s safe to say this is an unpopular selection! I understand most of it though. Maybe not Parling over Lawes- Lawes put in some world class performances toward the end of the season, maybe a little exhausted and hasn’t quite settled in NZ yet (likely also for like Billy V) whilst Parling has had half the season off and must be fresh as a daisy.
    The one I just don’t get is Ashton on the bench. for me he starts or nothing. Serious lack of 15 cover. I’d guess Farrell or burns would cover- more likely Farrell for me. If only we had a seriously pacey and dangerous broken field runner who can cover the whole back three and would be perfect for the final 20 mins when the game opens up… Oh wait we have 4- May, Watson, Foden and Pennell. Especially as May was just starting to look good.

    Oh well rant over. Come on England- prove us all wrong!

  22. I’m excited by Manu on the wing but seriously worried also, so i can’t wait to find out how it goes! As others have said, i can’t believe Ashton is on the bench over Foden. I wouldn’t mind Ashton starting, but not bench as we need fullback and wing cover.
    The only other surprise is Parling starting over Lawes, who has been awesome recently. But to be fair to Parling, Lancaster has spoke about how crucial his lineout work was last week. Not just winning own throws but reading and disrupting theirs, starving them of quality ball.

  23. Really surprised to come on here to see this reaction to selection. I love it.

    It is clear SL has a very good idea as to what his first XV is. He is now tinkering in preparation for the WC. SCW did the exact same thing for years – went down every avenue, tried every combination. One way or the other, we will know whether Tuilagi is a wing option after the game.

    We know Farrell and Twelvetrees is his preferred 10/12 axis, and I like those two. I see no reason to think that our back line play will get worse. Whilst our backs looked good last week – we should remember we still did not score a try.

    Parling over Lawes I agree with.

    The only issue I have is with Ashton on the bench. Slight gripe, but I’d have had May there. I understand that he wants a wing on the bench in case the Tuilagi experiment does not go well; but why not have May there? He can cover full back as well.

    Ah well, all in all, very happy with the selection. Great bench too. Seriously optimistic about Saturday.

  24. Really can’t believe what I am reading on here. I’m really happy with this selection.

    The pack is exactly what I’d have gone for, great. No I would not have gone for Tuilagi on the wing, but SL wants to know if it works, so he’s trying it. Either way, by the time the game finishes on Saturday he’ll know.

    Ashton on the bench over Foden/May is a strange one which I can’t really work out.

    As for the French comparisons, that is just laughable. The French have no core, no identity and nobody knows what is what. This England squad is the opposite of that. All SL is doing is trying out Tuilagi is a new position, and he can wing cover on the bench if it does not go well.

    1. Not talking about the squad Jacob, talking about the selection policy and taking the two best backs from a close defeat to the AB’s, dropping one completely from the squad and playing the other in a position he hasn’t played for years and never at this level.

      The bench shouldn’t be there to cover up possible selection mistakes either.

      Worth noting that the bookies aren’t convinced and we are at worse odds than we were last weekend. In fact, Ladbrokes reckon the Welsh are more likely to beat the Boks than we are the ABs, despite last week’s game. The handicap is 14 points.

      1. Really. Ladbrokes had England at 14/1 last week. have they really stretched out from that? May be worth a little look at that.

          1. My error on that then Blub, I could have sworn I saw NZ at 1/7 last weekend and they are 1/8 now

            It may just be my faulty memory.

            Still, given the closeness of last week’s match, the bookies clearly aren’t convinced

            Ladbrokes have the French at those same odds despite the massive kicking they took last week

      2. We all knew Twelvetrees was coming back in – he is the first choice 12, hardly a crazy selection.

        My point is, the only really risky selection is that of moving Tuilagi. One risky selection is not comparable to French selection policy.

        Lets remember how experimental SCW was in order to find his favourite combinations pre-2003.

        Also, were we not a handicap of 21 points last week? So we are slightly better off!

        Also – on last week being close, that was because we have a pack that is at the same level, if not better, than the ABs. Only change in the pack is Wood which no one will disagree with.

        Issues last week, in my opinion, was playing too much in our own half. We conceded 9 points doing so. Farrell and Twlevetrees will fix that.

        1. Jacob, with regards to Twelvetrees one could justifiably argue that Hartley, Lawes and Billy V were all first choice in their positions also.

          1. Completely agree – but the pack were outstanding last week. Eastmond was ok, and has never really been someone SL has appeared keen on.

            In the pack, we know SL trusts the likes of Parling and Morgan, they’ve both been starters under him in the past.

            As I mentioned above, Englands problem last week was playing too much in their own half. Twelvetrees will help with this, as will Farrell, so I’m glad they are both back in.

  25. I have no issue with Manu on the wing, as someone has suggested above, he could be our North, or Banahan mark 2! But its worth taking the risk for the potential upside. Late on can you imagine a tired defence having to face wave after wave of Lawes, Billy V, Burrell & Manu!

    It’s having no FB cover that worries me. Some have suggested that 12t may cover – but will he last 80 after such a long break. I imagine the plan is to take him off around 60 and have Burrell and Manu in the centres and Ashton on the wing. I read elsewhere that Burns has played FB for Glos. Is that true? What is his cover defence like and how secure is he under the high ball?

    1. Completely agree with you here. I guess Burns is 15 cover. Lets just hope Brown lasts the 80 minutes. It isn’t always possible to get every position covered from the bench, and if SL has decided that he wants Ashton back in the fold ahead of May (for wing selection), then I guess that is why he was selected.

  26. We all know how well Ashton has played in the domestic game of late, but I guess that he must have been very impressive in training to take this step up to the bench. Particularly so, given that the alternatives are all a little more adaptable as cover.

    Really tough on May as I think that the First Test was his best game for England.

  27. SL’s response to Tuilagi being targeted with kicks (to misquote), “he is fine under the high ball, and if he loses the battle for the catch then Manu will tackle him. Hard.”

  28. Thought SL would go back to the est players, altho likely to do so as the games wears on, esp if the ABS start as they finished last Sat.

    Hard on Haskell & Eastmaond & I personally don’t rate 12trees all that much. On the other hand, despite the S Times saying that Tui ‘frightened’ the ABs backline, neither he, nor Eastmond for that matter, created a scoring break. Eastmond made 1 initial clean break & Tui crossed the gain line a few times, again with 1 real clean break, but utimately England again remained tryless.

    Farrell, was always coming back in, but don’t understand SL’s logic therefore of leaving out say, Lawes & Hartley in this context. Personally, it’s good for indivdual’s morale & keeps the ‘incumbents’ on their toes with (mainly) this selection & goes agin my view of his being conservative (e.g. for not blooding Ford, Cip in the 6N).

    However, as for Putting Tui on the wing, a posi he’s not played before in an England shirt, esp in a game that England must win, borders on the instincts of a gambler to me. A bold move, or a rash one? We’ll likely know soon, but I can’t see the ABs doing similar.

    In the end tho, I don’t think team selection will alter the end result. Whichever team gets quicker numbers to the breakdown & to a lesser extent, maul & also holds up esp @ scrum will likely prevail. Also the AB scrum got better nearer the end & it wasthey who finished the game off stronger. Will they be worse this time up @ the start?

  29. Have any of us ever seen Manu under the high ball?
    I know I haven’t and I have watched every televised game of rugby possible for the last 4 years. just because he is a large centre who isn’t renowned for his passing game doesn’t me he isnt going to be ok under the high ball. I give you Mike Tindall.
    Also I wonder if Lancaster realises that although Billy may be better going forward and have a better offload game, Morgs does the number 8 things better, much much better at the back of a scrum for starters

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