England hoping to take Care against All Blacks
Stuart Lancaster has been hit with the news that Danny Care will miss the first international Test against New Zealand, as England look to take on the All Blacks at Eden Park in Aukland.
Having jarred his shoulder in training, Care has been ruled out of the clash with the All Blacks. England are 10/1 to record what would be an impressive victory with half of their first choice team missing. However, England have only beaten New Zealand twice in their own back yard, in 12 meetings.
Ben Youngs is being lined up to replace him at scrum half, though England are expected to field what would be a fourth choice midfield at 10 and 12, with Freddie Burns and Kyle Eastmond respectively.
Eastmond, whose record was so prolific while playing rugby league, is yet to step up at international level since switching codes, and as a result is 13/2 to cross the whitewash first.
Boss Lancaster is unable to select 14 players who featured in the Aviva Premiership play-off final between Saracens and Northampton recently, and consequently the squad is significantly under strength.
“To go into a Test against the All Blacks with anyone who is not 100 percent physically and mentally would be a poor decision, so we need to make sure he’s 100 percent right.” said Lancaster.
Although the All Blacks are formidable at the best of times, England captain Chris Robshaw insists the squad are not intimidated by the fact their opposition is unbeaten at Eden Park since 1994.
“We’ve got to come out of the blocks all guns blazing and really start fast,” Robshaw said. “Eden Park will be a tough place to go, but we’re looking forward to it.”
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen, meanwhile, is not under-estimating England.
“There’s been a lot of talk in the media about this being a poor England side, but they’ve all played internationals in the last 12 months,” Hansen said.
“There are not that many changes from the last time we played them and that was a great contest.”
His team are odds-on at 1/33 to record a victory, and full back Ben Smith is 7/1 to score the game’s first try.