Ashton to start for England, no Tuilagi for All Blacks showdown

Joe Moody is assisted by Dr Tony Page after suffering a bad cut to his eye during training

"It's been a good week, the players have recovered well, trained well on Tuesday, exceptionally well on Wednesday and we look forward to the challenge of taking on New Zealand on Saturday".

The first test in four years between New Zealand and the English has been given top billing by Kiwi coach Steve Hansen, who said on Thursday: "The Lions tour has made it bigger because we weren't successful in only drawing the series".

"That try-scoring skill is nothing coached".

Jones believes opponents are often bewitched by New Zealand's dazzling skills, reducing them to the role of spectators as their try-line is repeatedly breached before coming to their senses. "If he wasn't a rugby player he would be a marathon runner because he can run for days without getting exhausted". England stayed within touching distance and the boot of Owen Farrell and Elliot Daly edged them home.

Two further changes to the team that toppled South Africa sees Ben Moon come in for Alec Hepburn at loosehead prop and Sam Underhill replace Tom Curry, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the autumn by an ankle injury.

"He's a tough rooster, a warrior". For us it's about making our own statement.


It is true those two big suspensions stymied Jones's possible intent to select Ashton and let him add to his 19 global tries, which is the record for a current England player. He takes the ball to the line, he puts his body on the line, he doesn't play in a dinner suit. "It doesn't matter which one you play we've just got work out what combinations really gel well together and what we can do with the bench".

Back in 1989, Ireland captain Willie Anderson had his players link arms and advance towards the haka - a stirring sight, but one that didn't stop New Zealand winning 23-6 in Dublin.

Lawes missed the 12-11 victory over South Africa with a problem that initially surfaced early last month and grew more severe when having to squeeze his 6ft 7in frame into a single bed at a local hotel the night before Northampton's defeat to Leicester at Twickenham.

Injury-depleted England are facing the strongest available All Blacks team complete with the likes of Beauden Barrett, Rieko Ioane and Brodie Retallick, but are buoyed by last Saturday's stirring victory over South Africa.

"I don't know who's writing them off, it would be foolish to do that", he said.

And although England's leading Lions - Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Ben Te'o, Elliot Daly, Jamie George - may feel they have inside oil to draw on, the All Blacks do not appear anxious.

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