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Preview: England v All Blacks

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Sportal.co.nz     30 Nov 2012     Getty Images

VENUE & TIME: Twickenham, London, Sunday December 2, 03:30 NZT.

HEAD TO HEAD: Played 34 - New Zealand 27, England 6, Draws 1.

LAST TIME: November 66, 2010 (London) - New Zealand 26-16 England.

WALKING WOUNDED: Most of the New Zealand squad have succumbed to a virus over the last week but none are expected to be unable to take their place in the side for this game. First five-eighths Dan Carter returns from the leg injury that kept him out of the Wales Test while hooker Keven Mealamu is over the calf strain which saw him unable to lineout against Wales. England are without first choice first five-eighths Toby Flood who suffered a toe injury. Courtney Lawes joins the bench are getting over a knee injury

FORM: England have struggled to score tries in the autumn series and were tryless against South Africa last weekend. Centre Manu Tuilagi has proved the most dangerous of England's backs with wing Chris Ashton a constant danger. New Zealand went off the boil against Wales in the second half, notably after the introduction of the bench but attention should have been focused on turning that around ahead of the challenge that England always represents.

WHO'S HOT: Hooker Tom Youngs has been making an impact, and shows a willingness to compete in the loose. While in scrummaging Alex Corbisiero has been making an impression. Fullback Alex Goode has been looking for opportunities with effect while first five Owen Farrell has the perfect stage to show why he was nominated as a player of the year contender by the IRB. All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith has had a big year and stands the chance to demonstrate why he has been such a kingpin for the side in getting the backline underway quickly. Loose forwards Richie McCaw, Liam Messam and Kieran Read have been in outstanding touch while wing Julian Savea has a last chance to add to his try tally for the year.

WE THINK: Should New Zealand get to establish the sort of foundation their game needs up front, then the speed at which they are able to move the ball may prove enlightening to the English side. The mid-field pair of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith will face a job in handling Tuilagi but the impetus they can take from Dan Carter's presence will be encouraging on attack. England's ability to counter New Zealand's speed will determine its prospects for the game but a handy New Zealand win is in prospect.

TEAMS:

England1.Alex Corbisiero, 2.Tom Youngs, 3.Dan Cole, 4.Joe Launchbury, 5.Geoff Parling, 6.Tom Wood, 7.Chris Robshaw, 8.Ben Morgan, 9.Ben Youngs, 10.Owen Farrell, 11.Mike Brown, 12.Brad Barritt, 13.Manu Tuilagi, 14.Chris Ashton, 15.Alex Goode.

Reserves: 16.David Paice, 17.David Wilson, 18.Mako Vunipola, 19.Courtney Lawes, 20.James Haskell, 21.Danny Care, 22.Freddie Burns, 23.Jonathan Joseph.

New Zealand1.Tony Woodcock, 2.Keven Mealamu, 3.Owen Franks, 4.Brodie Retallick, 5.Samuel Whitelock, 6.Liam Messam, 7.Richie McCaw (captain), 8.Kieran Read, 9.Aaron Smith, 10.Dan Carter, 11.Julian Savea, 12.Ma'a Nonu, 13.Conrad Smith, 14.Cory Jane, 15.Israel Dagg.

Reserves: 16.Dane Coles, 17.Wyatt Crockett, 18.Charlie Faumuina, 19.Luke Romano, 20.Victor Vito, 21.Piri Weepu, 22.Aaron Cruden, 23.Ben Smith.

REFEREE:G Clancy (Ireland)