Carter to line out against England
Rugby:New Zealand outhalf Dan Carter will start Saturday’s clash with England at Twickenham after winning his injury battle. Carter missed last weekend’s 33-10 victory over Wales with an Achilles/calf problem but has been passed fit for the All Blacks’ final match of the season.
The world champions will field players with a combined 788 caps in the starting line-up and 146 on the bench. Two further changes to the XV sees hooker Keven Mealamu replace the suspended Andrew Hore, while lock Brodie Retallick is promoted to the second row in place of Luke Romano.
“There is huge motivation within the team to finish the season off on a high,” All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said. “We know that the English will lift themselves for their final match of the year, especially following their two recent narrow defeats to South Africa and Australia.”
Owen Farrell will start opposite Carter after being confirmed as England’s starting outhalf. Farrell has reclaimed the England number 10 jersey for the first time in six tests after Toby Flood was sidelined by a toe injury he suffered in last weekend’s 16-15 defeat to South Africa.
England will otherwise start with an unchanged team, although Northampton lock Courtney Lawes and the uncapped Gloucester outhalf Freddie Burns come onto the bench.
Farrell and Carter are two of the four men on the shortlist for the International Rugby Board’s world player of the year award, along with All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and France outhalf Frederic Michalak.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We asked for a big response from the players after 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.”
Flood was England’s most experienced player, the only member of the squad with over 50 caps. England’s starting XV on Saturday will boast a combined total of just 206 caps compared to New Zealand’s 788. Farrell started all five of England’s Six Nations matches this year, switching from inside centre to outhalf for the defeat to Wales and the victories over France in Paris and Ireland at Twickenham.
England:A Goode; C Ashton, M Tuilagi, B Barritt, M Brown; O Farrell, B Youngs; A Corbisiero , T Youngs, D Cole; J Launchbury, G Parling; T Wood, C Robshaw, B Morgan. Replacements:D Paice, D Wilson, M Vunipola, C Lawes, J Haskell, D Care, F Burns, J Joseph.
New Zealand:I Dagg; C Jane, C Smith, M Nonu, J Savea; D Carter, A Smith; T Woodcock, K Mealamu, O Franks, B Retallick, S Whitelock, L Messam, R McCaw (capt), K Read. Replacements:D Coles, W Crockett, C Faumuina, L Romano, V Vito, P Weepu, A Cruden, B Smith.