WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — England made five changes to its lineup for Saturday's second rugby test against New Zealand, moving giant center Manu Tuilagi to the wing, while the All Blacks made only one change in a calm response to their poor first test.
England had 15 players to choose from who were not available for the first test at Auckland after playing in the final of the England club premiership a week earlier.
Coach Stuart Lancaster has proceeded with restraint, making four changes to his backline but only one to the forward pack that out-performed New Zealand at Eden Park.
Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees will combine in midfield with Burrell taking over at outside center from Tuilagi, who shifts to the right wing. Marland Yarde, who played in that position last weekend, moves to the left.
Danny Care returns at scrumhalf after missing the first test with a shoulder injury and re-established his partnership in the halves with Owen Farrell, replacing the first test pair of Ben Youngs and Freddie Burns.
Tom Wood replaces James Haskell at blindside flanker in the only change to the England forwards. Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Billy Vunipola come onto the bench but have been unable to unseat last week's starters Rob Webber, Geoff Parling and Ben Morgan.
Uncapped prop Kieran Brookes has also been named on the bench, replacing Henry Thomas.
"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," Lancaster said.
"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."
For New Zealand, winger Julian Savea will return from injury, forcing Ben Smith to fullback in place of injured Israel Dagg in the only changes to the All Blacks lineup.
Savea missed the first test at Auckland — won 20-15 by New Zealand — because of a knee injury, but is considered fit to return on the left wing. Cory Jane moves from the left to the right wing.
No. 8 Keiran Read, who has been battling concussion, has again been omitted as he works to regain aerobic fitness, and Jerome Kaino will start again in that role in his 50th test.
The All Blacks selectors under head coach Steve Hansen have resisted any temptation to make wholesale changes in response to their team's dismal and error-ridden first-test performance against an under-strength England side.
While Dagg has been battling injuries for several weeks, his poor form in the first test in which he dropped high balls and kicked poorly, would likely have recommended his replacement.
Aaron Cruden has been retained at flyhalf although he also kicked badly at Auckland and struggled to guide the All Blacks with any authority. Hansen has resisted strong calls from fans for the in-form and more creative Beauden Barrett to be given the starting role.
The All Blacks forwards, apart from Kaino, were unusually timid at Eden Park and allowed England to dictate play at breakdowns and around the gain line. The selectors have expressed confidence that, when first test rustiness has been overcome and minor skill improvements have been made, New Zealand will produce a better second test performance.
"We have worked hard on our skillsets, attitude and the detail in our game, which wasn't up to All Blacks standard last week," Hansen said.
"Our mindset this week has been all about improvement, taking ownership and responsibility for our individual roles with the aim of delivering a team performance we can all be proud of," he added.
England had the advantage last week of playing under a northern hemisphere referee who allowed them to slow the pace of the game to a crawl. The All Blacks will be determined to set a faster pace on Saturday.
New Zealand: Ben Smith, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith; Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Patrick Tuipulotu, Victor Vito, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Malakai Fekitoa.
England: Mike Brown, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Luther Burrell, Billy Twelvetrees, Marland Yarde, Owen Farrell, Danny Care, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw (captain), Tom Wood, Geoff Parling, Joe Launchbury, David Wilson, Rod Webber, Joe Marler.
Reserves: Dylan Hartley, Matt Mullan, Kieran Brookes, Courtney Lawes, Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, Freddie Burns, Chris Ashton.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manu Tuilagi
- All Blacks
- Luther Burrell
- Billy Twelvetrees
- Marland Yarde
- Billy Vunipola
- Jerome Kaino
- New Zealand
- Courtney Lawes
- Ben Youngs
- Geoff Parling