Tag Archives: harlequins

Heineken Cup quarter-final previews 2013

Your weekend guide to the Heineken Cup: Three English sides in the last eight

By
Rob Wildman

PUBLISHED:

21:00 GMT, 5 April 2013

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 5 April 2013

Harlequins, Saracens and Leicester will be flying the flag for the Aviva Premiership in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals this weekend.

Here, Sportsmail tells you everything you need to know ahead of one of the most eagerly anticipated weekend's of the season…

Flying the flag: Manu Tuilagi starts for Leicester against Toulon

Flying the flag: Manu Tuilagi starts for Leicester against Toulon

Clermont Auvergne v Montpellier

(Saturday: Stade Marcel Micheli, 3.40pm, live on Sky Sports 1)

Clermont are favourites to extend a run of 58 successive home wins. Wales’ Lee Byrne and Scotland’s Nathan Hines face Scot Johnnie Beattie.

PREDICTION: Home win.

Harlequins v Munster

(Sunday: The Stoop, 2pm, live on Sky Sports 2)

England captain Chris Robshaw returns for Quins’ bid for a first semi-final. Munster are boosted by return of lock Paul O’Connell and wing Simon Zebo.

PREDICTION: Home win.

Home tie: Owen Farrell is in the Saracens side to face Munster at Twickenham

Home tie: Owen Farrell is in the Saracens side to face Munster at Twickenham

Saracens v Ulster

(Saturday: Twickenham, 6.30pm, live on Sky Sports 1)

Saracens opt for fly-half Owen Farrell over Charlie Hodgson. They also recall Scotland flanker Kelly Brown. Ulster welcome prop John Afoa.

PREDICTION: Home win.

Toulon v Leicester

(Sunday: Stade Felix Mayol, 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports 2)

Leicester name same starters for third week running. Toby Flood faces former Newcastle colleague in Jonny Wilkinson. Prop Andrew Sheridan starts.

PREDICTION: Away win.

Amlin Challenge Cup — quarter-final

Bath v Stade Francais

(Saturday: The Rec, 1pm, live on Sky Sports 1)

Bath move Horacio Agulla to centre for Matt Banahan. Nick Abendanon returns on wing. Italy captain Sergio Parisse is in a Stade team alongside ex-Wallaby flanker David Lyons.

PREDICTION: Away win.

Saracens 35 London Welsh 14 – Sarries go top: Match report

Saracens 35 London Welsh 14: Sarries go top as Strettle's hot streak continues

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

17:02 GMT, 3 March 2013

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UPDATED:

17:02 GMT, 3 March 2013

David Strettle continued to push for an England recall by sealing a bonus point win for Saracens against beleaguered London Welsh that took them to the top of the Aviva Premiership.

The in-form winger followed up his double at Leicester last week by running in Sarries' fourth try as they took themselves four points clear of Harlequins at the summit.

It rounds off a difficult week for Welsh, who find out their fate over the alleged ineligibility of scrum-half Tyson Keats at an RFU hearing on Tuesday which is threatening to seal their fate in their battle against the drop.

Man of the moment: Strettle crosses the whitewash to score late on for Sarries

Man of the moment: Strettle crosses the whitewash to score late on for Sarries

The visitors got off to a disastrous start when Keats' kick in the first minute was charged down by Alistair Hargreaves, leading to a penalty and an easy three points for Charlie Hodgson.

Unsurprisingly, Saracens were having the lion's share of possession in the early stages and soon doubled their lead when Hodgson was given another simple kick at goal from under the posts.

A horribly-executed scrum then led a Welsh player being penalised for going in off his feet at a ruck, but Hodgson was this time unable to punish them as he kicked wide.

Completely against the run of play, London Welsh scored the game's first try after 26 minutes when Julio Cabello's off-load bounced nicely for Seb Stegmann on the left wing.

Flying start: Stegmann races clear for relegation-threatened Welsh

Flying start: Stegmann races clear for relegation-threatened Welsh

The debutant sold two Saracens players a dummy which both bought – and he could not believe his luck as he sauntered over, although Gavin Henson's missed conversion meant the hosts retained their lead.

But the visitors then lost Canadian winger Phil Mackenzie to the sin-bin and a few minutes later conceded a penalty try as a Sarries lineout led to a maul that was illegally dragged down.

To make matters worse, prop Tom Bristow was yellow-carded for the offence, but while they were down to 14 men, Henson knocked over a penalty.

High hopes: Joubert collects lineout ball for Saracens

High hopes: Joubert collects lineout ball for Saracens

However, yet more ill-discipline from the Exiles allowed Hodgson to slot another penalty before Henson reduced the gap to 16-11 with a scrappy drop goal that clipped the crossbar right on half-time.

Saracens managed to put more daylight between the sides seven minutes into the second half when a sweeping move involving Hodgson and Duncan Taylor led to Joel Tomkins holding off his tackler to score, with the former converting.

To London Welsh's credit, this latest setback still did not break their spirit and they brought the deficit back down to nine points with another Henson penalty.

Full stretch: Will Fraser adds another five points to Sarries' total

Full stretch: Will Fraser adds another five points to Sarries' total

The inevitable raft of substitutions hurt the game's rhythm somewhat, Hodgson seeing a penalty come back off the left-hand post.

But Sarries took a huge step towards victory just after the hour mark when Strettle found Schalk Brits, whose off-load allowed Will Fraser to just about finish in the corner, with the try awarded by the TMO.

Still Welsh refused to lie down and the visitors thought they had a route back in the game when Henson touched down on the right wing – only to see the try chalked off for obstruction by Tom Arscott in the build-up.

The outcome was settled with eight minutes remaining when Saracens sealed the bonus point after Strettle went through a gap that appeared to be made by Tomkins holding back Henson.

Six Nations 2013: England name team to play Ireland

Twelvetrees, Barritt, Haskell and Youngs all start for England in Ireland… (as Sportsmail predicted)

By
Rob Wildman

PUBLISHED:

10:15 GMT, 8 February 2013

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UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 8 February 2013

We called it first…

Sportsmail's Chris Foy once again predicted England's line up correctly earlier this week

England confirmed this morning James Haskell will make his first in the Six Nations for two years when Stuart Lancaster’s team face Ireland, on Sunday, in Dublin.

The 27-year-old, who took himself off to play in Japan and New Zealand following England’s disastrous 2011 Rugby World Cup, starts at blindside flanker following the injury to Ben Morgan in last Saturday’s win over Scotland.

Tom Wood moves across to cover for Morgan at No 8 in a starting team which is otherwise unchanged from the one which beat Scotland 38-18.

Starting role: Haskell is given the nod at blindside with Wood moving to No 8

Starting role: Haskell is given the nod at blindside with Wood moving to No 8

ENGLAND (v Ireland, Dublin, Sunday, kick off 3pm):

Goode (Saracens);
Ashton (Saracens), Barritt (Saracens), Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Brown
(Harlequins); Farrell (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester); Marler
(Harlequins), Tom Youngs (Leicester), Cole (Leicester), Launchbury
(Wasps), Parling (Leicester), Haskell (Wasps), Robshaw (Harlequins,
capt), Wood (Northampton).

Subs: Hartley (Northampton), Wilson (Bath), M Vunipola (Saracens), Lawes
(Northampton); Waldrom (Leicester), Care (Harlequins), Flood
(Leicester), Tuilagi (Leicester).

Haskell’s place on the bench from last week goes to Leicester’s Thomas Waldrom. Another new face among the reserves is centre Manu Tuilagi who takes over from David Strettle.

For head coach Lancaster, the biggest selection decision this week was whether to opt for fit-again Tuilagi over Billy Twelvetrees who had an impressive debut against Scotland.

But as predicted in Sportsmail this week he has opted to stay with the Gloucester player and Saracens’ Brad Barritt, leaving Tuilagi as an impact man to come off the bench. Lancaster has also decided to keep Tom Youngs at hooker ahead of Dylan Hartley.

For Haskell, who will be winning his 47th cap, it is vindication for his decision to return to England last spring and to rejoin his old club of Wasps.

Centre of attention: Barritt retains his place alongside Twelvetrees

Centre of attention: Barritt retains his place alongside Twelvetrees

His last start for England in the Six Nations came two years ago in the same game when Martin Johnson's team went to Dublin in search of a Grand Slam and lost.

Haskell, however, believes his world trip has made him a more ‘enriched person’ and spoke this week about a new mood in the England camp.

He said: ‘Running out to play for England is just as exciting as it ever was. I’ll keep playing for as long as they want me.’

Come in No 2: Tom Youngs starts ahead of Dylan Hartley at hooker

Come in No 2: Tom Youngs starts ahead of Dylan Hartley at hooker

Lancaster said he had made some difficult decisions. He explained: ‘With Manu coming back into the equation it gave us some selection decisions. But with the centres playing well last week and Manu still returning to match fitness, having not played for the last four weeks, he and others will give us great options from the bench in what I am sure will be a physical encounter.'

England also announced that they would be taking 24 players to Ireland for Sunday’s match as Sale’s uncapped prop Henry Thomas will act as travelling reserve.

Ugo Monye claims he has had 10,000 stolen from his bank account

England Saxons winger Monye claims 10,000 was stolen from bank account

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

17:41 GMT, 9 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:49 GMT, 9 January 2013

Ugo Monye claims he had 10,000 stolen from his bank account – just hours after being named in the England Saxons squad.

The Harlequins winger took to Twitter to reveal the news, saying: '10k nicked outta my account! Brutal. Cheers Lloyds TSB for being so on the ball… Naaaat.'

He later revealed he spent 75 minutes on the phone fixing the problem.

Theft: Ugo Monye claims to have had 10,000 stolen from his account

Theft: Ugo Monye claims to have had 10,000 stolen from his account

His team-mate Mike Brown responded by admitting he had suffered the same fate.

'Mate that's too weird that mine was done few weeks ago as well! 6k!,' he said.

British Lions centre Jamie Roberts said: 'had that much in your account did you #sorryaboutthat.'

Harlequins 26 London Irish 15

Harlequins 26 London Irish 15: Exiles suffer late penalty try punishment

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UPDATED:

18:04 GMT, 29 December 2012

London Irish were dragged deeper into the relegation mire after champions Harlequins ground out a victory in front of 82,000 fans at Twickenham.

The Exiles were in touch for 78 minutes but left empty-handed after a late penalty try from Harlequins' dominant pack denied them a losing bonus point.

Harlequins had taken the lead after a scrappy first half with a try from scrum-half Danny Care and Nick Evans added 16 points with the boot.

Nice work: Chris Robshaw (right) of Harlequins celebrates with George Robson

Nice work: Chris Robshaw (right) of Harlequins celebrates with George Robson

London Irish are now just one point ahead of the Aviva Premiership's bottom side Sale Sharks, who closed the gap with their victory over Worcester on Friday.

The Sharks are in a state of upheaval after coach John Mitchell announced today he was returning to South Africa prematurely after just a month at the club.

But the Exiles have just two Premiership wins all season and they are not in a position to be relying on Sale shooting themselves in the foot.

Harlequins, meanwhile, finish a memorable 2012 top of the table.

Their record in this annual Christmas
extravaganza at Twickenham has not been great, with just one victory
from the four previous games.

But Conor O'Shea's men do not lose at Twickenham anymore.

Crunch: George Lowe is tackled by Jonathan Joseph of London Irish

Crunch: George Lowe is tackled by Jonathan Joseph of London Irish

Harlequins won their first Premiership title here in May and opened the new campaign with a stunning comeback victory over Wasps in the London double header.

There was nothing stunning about this victory, which was ground out in miserable conditions.

Harlequins did have the crowd on its feet in the opening minutes as they exploited the Exiles' notoriously weak defence, moving the ball quickly before Joe Marler charged through the gap.

The England prop was hauled down but the Quins pack kept the pressure on and earned a penalty which Evans converted after Exiles captain Declan Danaher slipped his binding.

Evans angled an intelligent kick into space behind the London Irish defence as Harlequins threatened to take control, but the Exiles were resilient.

Chris Hala'ufia carried the ball strongly and London Irish drew level with the first of Ian Humphreys' five penalties as the heavens opened.

Breaking through: Ollie Lindsay-Hague of Harlequins escapes from an Exiles challenge to score a try

Breaking through: Ollie Lindsay-Hague of Harlequins escapes from an Exiles challenge to score a try

The game worsened for it and became a scrappy affair, with both sides committing handling errors. Evans was the chief culprit for Harlequins, losing possession three times in the first half.

The Kiwi fly-half did kick his side back into the lead after Exiles prop Max Lahiff was penalised under pressure from James Johnson as Harlequins bossed the scrum battle.

London Irish, though, were gifted the opportunity to respond immediately when Maurie Fa'avasalu was penalised at a ruck straight from the kick-off and Humphreys accepted it.

Evans lit up the Twickenham gloom with one delightful reverse pass and then burst through a gap, only to spill the ball in the tackle.

Care had zipped across the field from a powerful lineout drive and offloaded to Evans, who went himself and should have lofted a pass out wide to Ugo Monye before he was tackled.

Harlequins produced another big scrum under the Irish posts but Fa'avasalu was penalised for playing the ball with the foot and the Exiles were able to clear.

Evans and Humphreys each missed two shots at goal before the interval and then nudged the score on to 9-9 after the restart when Harlequins began to up the tempo.

Sparks fly: Fans were entertained pre-match at Twickenham

Sparks fly: Fans were entertained pre-match at Twickenham

Monye coasted past Humphreys with ease and aimed for the corner before trying an inside ball to Mike Brown, which was knocked on by Humphreys.

Harlequins won another scrum penalty, went for touch and Care launched a 40-metre diagonal attack from the driving lineout before passing to Evans, who was hauled down five metres short.

Care darted for the line from the base of the ruck. He was half stopped by Jonathan Joseph but stretched through a forest of legs and the try was eventually awarded by television match official Geoff Warren.

Irish battled hard in the hope of a bonus point, with Humphreys slotting two more penalties, either side of one from Evans, to his side within four points.

But scrum-half Pat Phipps was sin-binned with four minutes remaining as his scrum struggled in their own 22.

Harlequins went for the scrum again and demolished the set-piece to earn the penalty try and deny their opponents the losing bonus point.

Saturday debate: Owen Farrell surprise candidate for Player of the Year

Saturday debate: Farrell was a surprise inclusion on shortlist for Player of the Year… who would you have picked

PUBLISHED:

22:52 GMT, 30 November 2012

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 1 December 2012

After Owen Farrell's shock candidacy for the IRB Player of the Year award, we ask a panel of rugby experts who they would choose as their winner for the prestigious award.

ROB WILDMAN Daily Mail rugby reporter
Australia captain Nathan Sharpe: He's postponed retirement to lead the Wallabies in an adverse year hit by injuries to key men like Will Genia and David Pocock.

Sharpe has thrived on the responsibility and guided the Wallabies to a draw against the All Blacks and their satisfying recent win over England at Twickenham.

Surprised Owen Farrell is a shock candidate for Player of the Year

Surprised Owen Farrell is a shock candidate for Player of the Year

STEVE HANSEN All Blacks coach
New Zealand centre Conrad Smith: He is Mr Consistent and not only does a lot of work but it's always tidy work, always in the right place at the right time. Sometimes players like that are overlooked.

JERRY GUSCOTT Ex-England centre, now BBC pundit All Blacks No 8
Kieran Read: the best NZ forward, does everything you want of a back row. Well worth watching today.

LUKE BENEDICT Daily Mail rugby reporter
Wales full back Leigh Halfpenny: Has the same commitment to training as his boyhood idol Jonny Wilkinson and is as metronomic with the boot.

Ever present for Wales during the highs and lows of 2012 – his peerless kicking was essential to their Grand Slam.

His favourite expression is to 'own the skies' and he can jump far higher than his 5ft 10in frame should allow. A truly natural footballer.

Could be: Sportsmail's Luke Benedict believes Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny should have taken the prize

Could be: Sportsmail's Luke Benedict believes Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny should have taken the prize

CONOR O'SHEA Harlequins director of rugby
Ireland flanker Sean O'Brien (right): How about the Leinster star He has been a consistent force for his club in their European Cup success and has also become one of Ireland's best.

He's a terrifically competitive customer, though injury has ruled him out of recent autumn games.

JEFF PROBYN Ex-England prop, talkSPORT pundit
Argentina powerhouse Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe: Fly halves and captains are always getting this award.

Let's go for a forward. Nobody has helped Argentina get into the Rugby Championship more than this back row. His workrate and non-stop style have been brilliant to watch and he has kept a losing team buoyant.

England v New Zealand preview with Jonathan Poff, Bryn Evans and Ben Botica

A foot in both camps: Kiwi Premiership stars give their verdict on England v New Zealand

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UPDATED:

15:21 GMT, 29 November 2012

Ahead of England's final QBE autumn international series fixture against New Zealand at Twickenham this Saturday, Sportsmail caught up with three men in the know to discuss the chances of both sides.

Kiwi trio Jonathan Poff, Bryn Evans and Ben Botica all ply their trade in the Aviva Premiership for London Wasps, London Irish and Harlequins respectively, and as such they have a vast knowledge of the game in both countries.

With the help of Aviva, we managed to track them down in the Turks Head pub in Twickenham to hear their views on the mammoth task that England face against the world champions, while also discussing the wider issues facing English rugby.

Here's how it went…

Pub grub: (left to right) Botica, Evans and Poff share their views ahead of Saturday's game

Pub grub: (left to right) Botica, Evans and Poff share their views ahead of Saturday's game

FACTFILES

Name: Jonathan Poff
Age: 29
Club: London Wasps
Position: Openside flanker
Previous clubs: Tasman, Crusaders

Name: Bryn Evans
Age: 28
Club: London Irish
Position: Lock
Previous clubs: Hawke's Bay, Blues, Hurricanes
New Zealand caps: 2

Name: Ben Botica
Age: 23
Club: Harlequins
Position: Fly-half
Previous clubs: North Harbour, Perigueux

The All Blacks have beaten Scotland, Italy and Wales so far this autumn, but what have you made of the quality of their performances on tour

Poff: I think they haven't quite hit full throttle yet, but they have definitely shown glimpses of what they can do. To not play particularly well and still record comfortable victories shows just how good they are though.

Evans: There is definitely a bit more in the tank. They have had to switch the team up quite a bit, but the boys coming in have taken their chances and are playing well, they still look full of fitness and full of running and they look like a dangerous side with nothing to lose.

Botica: The scorelines might not reflect it but Scotland tested the All Blacks for a while and so did Italy. They won't be happy with how they have started their games but they have finished them strongly.

Is it the sheer strength in depth that New Zealand possess what sets them apart from other international sides

Evans: The Super Rugby competition creates a platform to bring these young guys in. People that are straight out of school – 18, 19 – have the chance to show what they can do and often they are straight into a Super Rugby contract. So with the competition and the challenges coming up it's great to know that there are a lot of them back home waiting to step in.

Botica: At first receiver (fly-half) it is ridiculous to see how much talent is coming through. You have got Beauden Barrett there and Aaron Cruden stepping into Dan Carter's shoes, which is not an easy task, but they are both playing great rugby and kicking well and doing everything you are supposed to be doing well. The depth of the squad is just amazing.

Evans: In my position at lock you've got guys like Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano and Brodie Retallick all coming through and performing at a level which at their age is pretty special. They can only get stronger from there.

Formidable: The All Blacks have won three from three so far this autumn

Formidable: The All Blacks have won three from three so far this autumn

Formidable: The All Blacks have won three from three so far this autumn

Formidable: The All Blacks have won three from three so far this autumn

Can you see any side being able to challenge New Zealand in the immediate future

Evans: Being based here in the UK you can definitely see that England have the young guys coming through as well and there is a lot of talent there. You have got Joe Launchbury coming through who played at the weekend against South Africa and did well. You have got guys on the bench coming through like my team-mate Jonathan Joseph, so there are exciting players there. If England can keep those players together, get that core and build on that, there is no reason why they can't challenge the All Blacks in years to come.

The All Blacks only select players based in New Zealand, but are the RFU right in insisting that players must play their club rugby in the Premiership if they want to play in England

Poff: South Africa have all their players playing all over the world and it doesn't seem to hurt them, so I think someone like Steffon Armitage, who is playing incredibly well over in France, should have the opportunity to play for England.

Evans: New Zealand have stuck to that policy quite strongly but I suppose it is quite a unique situation for England because you have got France in such close proximity. It could be quite easy to allow it, whereas in New Zealand I can see the problems with trying to get players to travel the length of the world to try and and get them to go back and play. It is definitely something that England need to look at.

High hopes: Evans gathers lineout ball for London Irish as Poff (left) prepares to pounce

High hopes: Evans gathers lineout ball for London Irish as Poff (left) prepares to pounce

What do England need to do to win on Saturday

Botica: England just have to make sure they capitalise on every opportunity they get, which is the same for the All Blacks. The All Blacks are the best side in the world at capitalising on opportunities, that is why they are so good, so England need to do the same. Every time they get a chance they need to turn it into points. When the pressure is on it is the little things that count. England have got to throw caution to the wind and just go for it I reckon. Don't kick away unnecessary ball and don't wait for the All Blacks to make a mistake, because they rarely do. Kicking the ball away is not going to do them any favours so I think they just need to hold on to it and go for it.

Poff: As Ben said, they really need to take their opportunities. They might only get two or three opportunities in the game. Turnover ball is going to be very important in how they use it, whether they kick it away or attack wide and attack the space.

Bryn, in terms of the set-piece, how do you think England are going to fare against the All Blacks

Evans: The scrum has always been a strong area for England. In the Premiership a lot of people pride themselves on the scrum, so I think that is where they will try and have a crack, and obviously they have got to win their lineout ball as well. They have definitely got the players capable of troubling New Zealand in those areas.

Key area: (left to right) Dan Cole, Tom Youngs and Alex Corbisiero will have to be at their best at the scrum

Key area: (left to right) Dan Cole, Tom Youngs and Alex Corbisiero will have to be at their best at the scrum

A lot has been said about England not having a natural openside. It is your position Jonathan, would you agree with that sentiment

Poff: The game has changed. You see a lot of teams instead of having experts just having three big guys in the back row. I guess it is down to the coach's preference but every team has got to have scavenger in their team, whether it be starting or on the bench. Modern day loose forwards are usually able to operate in all three positions, but that is one area I am really looking forward to at the weekend, seeing how the No 7 battle turns out around the breakdown and the tackle area.

Is Chris Robshaw a natural openside flanker

Poff: That is where he has been playing and he is strong around the ball and around the tackle area. He is probably one of those forwards who can play any position in the back row, which is a good a card to have in your back pocket as well. If you are a specialist No 7 it obviously helps but personally I think it is good to have players who can play a number of positions.

Robshaw has come under a lot of criticism in recent weeks for his decision-making as captain. Ben, he is your skipper at Harlequins, do you think the public have been a bit harsh on him

Botica: As a captain it is not the easiest thing making those tough decisions. You get help from your team but at the end of the day it is your decision and whatever you say is final. In the pressure moments it can either go one way or the other and unfortunately it didn't quite work out for England on Saturday, but there is no doubt that Chris is a great leader.

Under pressure: Robshaw's decision-making against South Africa was criticised

Under pressure: Robshaw's decision-making against South Africa was criticised

What needs to change in this country if England are ever to challenge the southern hemisphere sides

Evans: Coming over here it seems to me that a lot of the teams do a lot of the stuff that we do back home as well. I think it is more about developing skill sets, especially in forwards where they can be uncomfortable being caught out wide, they need to be able to use their ball skills. The All Blacks can go through five or six pairs of hands and it doesn't matter what number is on their back, they are all capable of scoring a try in the corner. Growing up in New Zealand, that is what all players try and go out there and do, so it's just about honing those skills from a young age.

Bryn, you have picked up a couple of caps for the All Blacks, do you feel a foot taller when you are wearing that black shirt

Evans: It is special to put on that jersey and it definitely gives you a bit of a lift, but at the end of the day, if you are playing against that team they have still got two arms and two legs, so you have just got to go out there and just play rugby. If you don't have that belief, there is no point taking the field.

Ben, do you think Owen Farrell and Freddie Burns have the ability to challenge the All Blacks and control the game from fly-half

Botica: Definitely. Especially Freddie Burns, his kicking is dead accurate and the way he controls the game is great. He is always taking the line on which is a big thing at international level. Attacking the line and being able to distribute is a great talent, so it will be interesting to see if Freddie gets a go. They will start with Owen, but it would be good to see Freddie get a go from the bench.

Starting role: Owen Farrell (centre) will wear the No 10 jersey on Saturday

Starting role: Owen Farrell (centre) will wear the No 10 jersey on Saturday

What are your predictions for Saturday

Poff: All Blacks by 35.

Evans: All Blacks by 10.

Botica: All Blacks by 25.

Aviva is the proud sponsor of Aviva Premiership Rugby. For more information, visit www.avivapremiershiprugby.com

Owen Farrell starts for England v New Zealand

Farrell starts in place of injured Flood as Lancaster names England XV to face All Blacks

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UPDATED:

10:15 GMT, 29 November 2012

England will give Owen Farrell his first international start since June in Saturday’s visit of world champions New Zealand to Twickenham.

Farrell was today named by head coach Stuart Lancaster in an England team aiming to topple New Zealand for the first time since 2003. He is the only change to the team who started last Saturday’s 15-16 defeat by South Africa.

The fly half continues after taking over from Toby Flood, who injured his toe, early in the second half against South Africa.

Starting role: Farrell has been used as a replacement this autumn

Starting role: Farrell has been used as a replacement this autumn

He will be winning his 12th cap and a first start since the opening Test of the summer series against South Africa last June.

Lancaster has also made two changes to his list of substitutes by bringing in Northampton lock Courtney Lawes for Saracens’ Mouritz Botha and Gloucester’s fly half Freddie Burns for the promoted Farrell.

An upbeat Lancaster believes England produced a much better performance against South Africa after also losing to Australia the previous week.

He said: 'We asked for a big response
from the players after Australia and we got one last Saturday against
South Africa, although ultimately we were denied.

Debut chance: Burns is likely to be used from the bench

Debut chance: Burns is likely to be used from the bench

England (v New Zealand, Twickenham, Saturday, 2.30):

Goode (Saracens); Ashton
(Saracens), Tuilagi (Leicester), Barritt (Saracens), Brown
(Harlequins); Farrell (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester); Corbisiero
(London Irish), Tom Youngs (Leicester), Cole (Leicester), Parling
(Leicester), Launchbury (Wasps), Wood (Northampton), Robshaw
(Harlequins, capt), Morgan (Gloucester).

Subs: Paice (London Irish),
Vunipola (Saracens), Wilson (Bath), Lawes (Northampton), Haskell
(Wasps), Care (Harlequins), Joseph (London Irish), Burns (Gloucester).

'That frustration has been channelled this week and the whole squad has reacted with a determination to get a victory against the top team in the world.

'We are delighted that Courtney has got an opportunity. He has worked hard to get back in contention and what better game for him to make an impact.

'The same with Freddie Burns, who has had a great Premiership season so far, and we are looking forward to seeing him contribute should he get his chance.'

Chris Ashton back for England against Australia

Ashton the only change as winger returns for England against Australia

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UPDATED:

10:20 GMT, 15 November 2012

Chris Ashton will return to the international stage against Australia on Saturday after his one-match ban which ruled him out of England's opening autumn Test against Fiji.

The recall of the explosive Saracens wing is the only change in an England team who are looking to continue winning ways after defeating Fiji last Saturday, 54-12.

As reported by Sportsmail this morning, Ashton takes over in his normal position of right wing while Gloucester's Charlie Sharples, who scored two tries against Fiji, moves to the left flank in place of Ugo Monye.

Welcome back: Chris Ashton is named in the England XV to face the Aussies at Twickenham

Welcome back: Chris Ashton is named in the England XV to face the Aussies at Twickenham

England team v Australia

Goode (Saracens); Ashton (Saracens),
Tuilagi (Leicester), Barritt (Saracens), Sharples (Gloucester); Flood
(Leicester), Care (Harlequins); Marler (Harlequins), Tom Youngs
(Leicester), Cole (Leicester), Palmer (Wasps), Parling (Wasps), Johnson
(Exeter), Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), Waldrom (Leicester)

Subs: Paice
(London Irish), Wilson (Bath), Vunipola (Saracens), Launchbury (Wasps),
Wood (Northampton), Ben Youngs (Leicester), Farrell (Saracens), Brown
(Harlequins)

Ashton missed the Fiji match because of a ban imposed after he collected three yellow cards for dangerous play since the start of the season in Premiership games for Saracens.

The third came last month in his first return to Northampton, his former club, since he left for Saracens last summer.

His poor disciplinary record has brought a rebuke from head coach Stuart Lancaster this week that he must improve his tackling technique.

Lancaster stressed in announcing his team on Thursday that his coaching team had thought long and hard before deciding on making just one change.

He explained: 'To select 23 from a squad of 30 plus who have trained so well, with such intensity and focus, was difficult but it's a good position to be in.

'The 'team first' mentality of all our squad has impressed us greatly. We were pleased with lots of aspects of our performance last week.

On the move: Charlie Sharples switches to the left after scoring two tries against Fiji

On the move: Charlie Sharples switches to the left after scoring two tries against Fiji

'But we know we need to improve this week and, by having some consistency in selection, we allow those players to demonstrate we can step up to the next level against what will be a very tough Australian side.'

Lancaster hopes the expected capacity crowd of 82,000 will get behind England again.

'The crowd at Twickenham last week were brilliant and we can't wait to get back there and take part in what I am sure will be a very exciting Test match.'addCustomPlayer('heicdtovt78m17bvybbez1kgu', '', '', 636, 480, 'perfheicdtovt78m17bvybbez1kgu', 'eplayer16');

Chris Ashton replaces Ugo Monye for Australia Test

Ashton back in England squad for Australia clash as wing replaces Monye

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UPDATED:

18:51 GMT, 13 November 2012

Saracens wing Chris Ashton has replaced Ugo Monye in England's 23-man squad for Saturday's Cook Cup international against Australia at Twickenham.

Ashton was suspended for England's 54-12 victory over Fiji last weekend but he has been recalled to face the Wallabies, against whom he has scored three tries in three Tests.

The inclusion of Ashton is the only change to the match-day squad made by head coach Stuart Lancaster, who has decided not to rush Jonathan Joseph or Alex Corbisiero back into the squad.

Welcome back: Ashton has replaced Monye after missing the Fiji game

Welcome back: Ashton has replaced Monye after missing the Fiji game

Corbisiero played his first game in five months for the London Irish last weekend after recovering from a knee injury and Lancaster wants him to get another club game under his belt.

Joseph is fit again after shaking an ankle injury but he will join Corbisiero in being available for London Irish in their LV= Cup game against Leicester.

Lancaster will finalise his starting XV on Thursday morning but Ashton and Charlie Sharples are the likely wing selections, with Monye released to play for Harlequins.

Over the line: Monye scored a try in England's thumping win over Fiji on Saturday

Over the line: Monye scored a try in England's thumping win over Fiji on Saturday

Wasps lock Joe Launchbury is pushing hard for a first Test start while Thomas Waldrom appears to have retained the No 8 shirt after Ben Morgan was among 13 players released.

Manu Tuilagi has not trained this week and he spent all day today undergoing rehabilitation on a sprained foot but England are confident he will be fit to play on Saturday.

Lancaster said: 'We had to make some tough decisions within the 23 and we are in a good position to be able to select from a largely fit squad.

No rush: Lancaster wants Corbisiero to get another club game under his belt

No rush: Lancaster wants Corbisiero to get another club game under his belt

'Alex Corbisiero has played once in five months so it is important that he goes back and has more game time for London Irish.

'Jonathan Joseph has come through training but Brad Barritt and Manu did well in the centres and, similar to Alex, it would be good for him to get some game time.

'It is tough on Ugo, who misses out this time, but Chris has been excellent in training and Charlie is rewarded for his performance at the weekend.'

If Joseph and Corbisiero both come through the weekend unscathed, they will be strong contenders to feature for England against South Africa a week on Saturday.