Rugby Union

England make three key changes for team to play New Zealand

Eddie Jones has gambled by picking Chris Ashton to start against the All Blacks – after just one club start all season.

The England boss makes three changes from the side which escaped to victory against South Africa, but cannot find room in his matchday 23 for Manu Tuilagi.

Ben Moon replaces Alec Hepburn at loosehead prop and Sam Underhill replaces Tom Curry in the back row.

But it is the selection of Ashton, try-scorer when England hammered New Zealand by a record score in 2012, which is the headline grabber.

The Sale wing replaces Jack Nowell in the starting line-up, having won his 40th cap off the bench against the Boks.

Prior to that his only other game this season has been a club start against Connacht in the European Challenge Cup.

Jones said: “The expectation for Saturday is no different to any other Test match. We want to be at our best, better than we were in the previous Test match and we want to play with pride and passion which ignites the fan.

“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 crowd last week was wonderful, we had great support and enthusiasm for the game and they saw a great Test match and I’m sure on Saturday they will see another.”

England starting XV

15 – Elliot Daly (Wasps, 22 caps), 14 – Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks, 40 caps), 13 – Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps), 12 – Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors, 14 caps), 11 – Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 38 caps), 10 – Owen Farrell (Saracens, 62 caps – co-captain), 9 – Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 78 caps); 1 – Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap), 2 Dylan Hartley (co-captain – Northampton Saints, 94 caps), 3 – Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 14 caps), 4 – Maro Itoje (Saracens, 23 caps), 5 – George Kruis (Saracens, 26 caps), 6 – Brad Shields (Wasps, 3 caps), 7 – Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 6 caps), 8 – Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 5 caps).

Replacements: Jamie George (Saracens, 29 caps), Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 7 caps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 65 caps), Danny Care (Harlequins, 82 caps), George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 48 caps), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 27 caps).

New Zealand team

1 – Karl Tu’inukuafe, 2- Codie Taylor, 3 – Owen Franks, 4 – Samuel Whitelock, 5 – Brodie Retallick, 6 – Liam Squire, 7 – Ardie Savea, 8 – Kieran Read (captain); 9 – Aaron Smith, 10 – Beauden Barrett, 11 – Rieko Ioane, 12 – Sonny Bill Williams, 13 – Jack Goodhue, 14 – Ben Smith, 15 – Damian McKenzie.

Replacements: Dane Coles, Ofa Tuungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Scott Barrett, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Richie Mo’unga, Ryan Crotty.

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