Rugby

Farrell starts against NZ

2012-11-29 13:01
Owen Farrell (AFP)

London - Owen Farrell will be in direct opposition to fellow world player of the year nominee Dan Carter after being named as England's flyhalf against New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.

Farrell has reclaimed the England No 10 shirt for the first time in six Tests after Toby Flood was ruled out by a toe injury he suffered in last weekend's 16-15 loss to South Africa.

The inclusion of Farrell is the only change to England's starting XV, with the place he held on the bench going to uncapped Gloucester flyhalf Freddie Burns.

England coach Stuart Lancaster made one other change among his replacements, recalling fit-again Northampton lock Courtney Lawes in place of Mouritz Botha.

Farrell and former winner Carter were two of the four men named on Wednesday on the shortlist for the International Rugby Board's prestigious award, along with All Blacks captain Richie McCaw - himself a previous multiple winner of the prize - and France fly-half Frederic Michalak.

New Zealand named their side earlier on Thursday with the world champions including Carter following an Achilles injury, although he must still pass a late fitness test.

The All Blacks are currently on a 20-match unbeaten run and have won nine straight Tests against England since a 15-13 home loss shortly before the Red Rose brigade lifted the 2003 World Cup in Australia.

England, by contrast, are looking to finish 2012 with a flourish following defeats this month by Australia (20-14) and South Africa (16-15).

"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," said Lancaster after naming his team on Thursday.

"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."

Flood was the only member of England's squad with over 50 caps and their starting XV on Saturday will boast a combined total of just 206 Test appearances compared to New Zealand's 788.

Farrell started in all five of England's Six Nations matches this year, moving from inside centre to fly-half for the defeat by Wales and the wins against France in Paris and Ireland at Twickenham.

But he was dropped after England's first Test defeat in South Africa in June and has since been Flood's deputy for the last five internationals.

The 21-year-old Farrell even has to share flyhalf duties at club side Saracens with former England No 10 Charlie Hodgson.

However, Lancaster has been impressed by the composure Farrell showed in coming off the bench to help England draw 14-14 with the Springboks in the third Test in Port Elizabeth in June, and when he replaced Flood early in the second half last week and almost steered the side to victory from 16-6 down.

"I suppose it is a big ask for any 10 to play against the best in the world," said Farrell's father Andy, the England assistant coach.

"It is not a gamble. He is comfortable in the environment. The lads are comfortable with him being there. He is in a good place."

Injuries have restricted Lawes to just one England appearance, off the bench, in 2012 while Burns has been in fine form for Gloucester and is the leading points scorer in the English Premiership.

"We are delighted that Courtney has got an opportunity," Lancaster said.

"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."

Teams:

England:

15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Alex Corbisiero

Substitutes: 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 Zealand:

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock

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

Read more on:    england  |  owen farrell  |  rugby
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