Rugby: Danny Care named for All Blacks clash
Care suffered a shoulder injury in training on Monday and will need to prove his fitness in the captain’s run on Friday to be a confirmed starter at Eden Park.
Ben Youngs is in line to step in if Care is ruled out, with Northampton’s Lee Dickson, who played 50 minutes in the English Premiership final just last Saturday, on standby to come onto the bench.
England are already missing a host of experienced players due to their commitments in that final or injury which has prevented several from touring at all.
Billy Twelvetrees has made it to Auckland but has failed to recover from his ankle problem so there is an untried pairing of Manu Tuilagi and Kyle Eastmond in midfield outside young first-five Freddie Burns.
Only four players in total – full-back Mike Brown, prop Joe Marler, lock Joe Launchbury and captain Chris Robshaw – remain from the team that started against the All Blacks at Twickenham last year, although Geoff Parling, David Wilson, Ben Morgan and Matt Mullan were on the bench in that game which New Zealand won 30-22.
James Haskell, who spent a season with the Highlanders in Super Rugby in 2012, has earned a recall having played the last of his Tests in the 2013 Six Nations.
In all, the starting XV boasts just 299 caps and 12 of the 23-man squad have 10 caps or fewer, including uncapped duo Joe Gray and Chris Pennell who are on the bench.
It means England have a sizeable challenge in front of them.
“We’ve had a good week’s training in Auckland and have prepared well and are ready for the massive challenge ahead,” England head coach Stuart Lancaster said.
“It doesn’t get much bigger than playing New Zealand at Eden Park where they haven’t lost in 20 years but those selected know what they have to do.”
England: Mike Brown, Marland Yarde, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Kyle Eastmond, Jonny May, Freddie Burns, Danny Care, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw (c), James Haskell, Geoff Parling, Joe Launchbury, David Wilson, Rob Webber, Joe Marler.
Replacements: Joe Gray, Matt Mullan, Henry Thomas, Dave Attwood, Tom Johnson, Ben Youngs, Danny Cipriani.
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