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Premiership Rugby

England choose experienced side against All Blacks

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Despite some of the midweek players putting up their hands during the New Zealand Maori clash, Clive Woodward has named the same starting line-up, which won the Grand Slam for England against Ireland back in March.

Woodward, who has spoken a lot of his determination to beat the All Blacks at home, explained that the strength of the All Blacks meant having to choose players who had played with each other.

"The All Blacks is a massive game and I intend to take the opportunity of playing a settled side against them. New Zealand are a superb side and Saturday will be a major challenge for all of us," he said.

A major challenge is right, given that England last managed a victory over the All Blacks in New Zealand back in 1973, while they have never succeeded in beating Australia at home either.

While there has been no tampering with the starting line-up, the bench has seen some strong competition for a place in the match-day 22.

"The places on the bench have been fiercely contested, which is a tribute to all the players concerned as they approach the final two games of their and England's season," said Woodward.

In terms of statistical player head to head, England's starting XV to face New Zealand on Saturday has an average cap tally of 42 caps compared to just 17 of New Zealand whilst the visitors average age of the side is 28-and-half years old to the All Blacks' 25.

The England team: 15 Josh Lewsey, 14 Jason Robinson, 13 Will Greenwood, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Matt Dawson, 8 Lawrence Dallaglio, 7 Neil Back, 6 Richard Hill, 5 Ben Kay, 4 Martin Johnson (captain), 3 Jason Leonard, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Graham Rowntree.Replacements: 16 Dorian West, 17 Phil Vickery, 18 Steve Borthwick, 19 Joe Worsley, 20 Kyran Bracken, 21 Paul Grayson, 22 Dan Luger.

Kick-off: 19.00 NZST (07.00 GMT, 08.00 BST)


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