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New Zealand vs. England: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Rugby Preview

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 31:  England coach Stuart Lancaster during the England Rugby Squad Community Day at Ponsonby RFC on May 31, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Phil Walter/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured Columnist IVNovember 30, 2016

England face a daunting task in trying to overcome the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday, with Stuart Lancaster's options slightly limited through injury.

The Aviva Premiership season has only just come to its end, with Northampton Saints crowned as champions, but there's no rest for his selections, who begin their Test series in intimidating circumstances.

Steve Hansen's reigning world champions will attempt to build on a 2013 that saw them become the first international team ever to win all of their results in a calendar year, and the first meeting promises to be a tense one as both outfits assess their opponents at Eden Park.

 

Date: Saturday, June 7

Time: 8:35 a.m. BST/3:35 a.m. ET

Live Stream: Sky Go app (UK, subscription required), OSN Sports Play (subscription required)

TV Info: Sky Sports 1 (UK), OSN Sports 1

 

Key Players to Watch

New Zealand: Julian Savea

With his international foundations firmly laid in 2012, Julian Savea was once again a marvel to watch for the All Blacks in 2013, and his contributions at last summer's Rugby Championship will have surprised even his most avid admirers.

Saturday's fixture brings the 23-year-old back to where it all began, the location at which he scored a hat-trick of tries on his New Zealand debut against Ireland back on June 9, 2012.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 03:  Julian Savea of the All Blacks runs through drills during a New Zealand All Blacks training session at Trusts Stadium on June 3, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Hannah Peters/Getty Images

That is if the winger is to feature at all, however, with SuperSport revealing that a knee injury sees Savea as a doubt for this weekend's matchup, although Hansen has ample cover on the flanks should the Hurricanes star be ruled out.

Ex-England centre Will Greenwood noted just how potent an attacking talent Savea was during last year's Autumn internationals:

Save for Chris Ashton, Lancaster's wing are a particularly inexperienced bunch, with Marland Yarde, Anthony Watson and Jonny May boasting just eight caps between them, and Savea is already a well-founded asset on the international scene, capable of lighting it up against any counterpart.

 

England: James Haskell

TEDDINGTON, ENGLAND - MAY 26:  James Haskell looks on during the England training session at the Lensbury Club on May 26, 2014 in Teddington, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers/Getty Images

Having enjoyed one season with the Highlanders in 2012, James Haskell has some knowledge of what it means to take on the stars of this New Zealand side.

Speaking on Sky Sports' Rugby Club, the Wasps talisman divulged some of the details regarding his time south of the equator, insisting this All Blacks side, despite the respect they command, are very much human:

I think that I learnt that the All Blacks are human, which is always a good thing. It is always very easy when you spend a lot of time watching highlights on Sky of the Super 15 and internationals. They go as a blur and these guys [look] immortal, they are unbelievable and they are playing some sort of brand of rugby that we don't know how to do over here.

When you are facing the haka and the whole culture it is very easy to get caught up in the headlights and I think a lot of these boys won't believe that because they have had these opportunities to play the All Blacks at Twickenham. They beat them once and pushed them very hard a second time.

Haskell has received a second chance under Lancaster this summer after enjoying a stellar season at Adams Park, during which he helped Wasps reclaim their spot in the Heineken Cup, and any impact he's to have on Saturday will be against one of the deepest back-row reserves in the world.

 

Key Battle

Ma'a Nonu vs. Manu Tuilagi

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 26:  (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been desaturated.) Ma’a Nonu of the All Blacks poses during a New Zealand All Blacks portrait session on May 26, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand.  (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Hannah Peters/Getty Images

There still lies a sense of uncertainty over how Lancaster plans to shape his best XV in a summer tour that will have some sense of experimentation to it, but one battle we can certainly expect to see as much as possible is that of Ma'a Nonu taking on Manu Tuilagi.

Intensity, physicality and animalistic tendencies will be some of the coals that stoke the fire of this rivalry, with two of the biggest midfield bruisers in the sport set to clash once again.

Sky Sports' Alex Payne has opened up to the possibility of Tuilagi shifting to a less familiar inside centre role:

Tuilagi is now well-recovered from the chest injury that saw him miss the majority of Leicester Tigers' season, and depending on where Lancaster plans to field his centre—if in the centre at all—fireworks are likely to set alight in Auckland.

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