England will be out for revenge in the second Test in Dunedin on Saturday against New Zealand, after being cruelly beaten in the dying moments of the Auckland encounter.
An under-strength England team—who many expected to be thrashed at Eden Park—were looking like claiming a famous draw before Conrad Smith's last-gasp try made it 20-15 to the hosts.
Impressive effort by England in Auckland. More evidence of the squad depth Stuart Lancaster has. Hospital scheduling but stood up to NZ.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) June 7, 2014
However, Stuart Lancaster's side will have taken great confidence from a fine performance against the world champions and, with reinforcements arriving, England will fancy their chances of winning on Saturday.
Read on for a full preview, as well as viewing information and kick-off time.
Date: Saturday, June 14
Time: 8:35 a.m. BST, 3:35 a.m. ET, 7:35 p.m. local time
TV Info: Sky Sports 1 (UK only)
Live Stream: Sky Go app (UK only)
England's Returning Stars
Due to the Premiership final, many of England's first-choice players were unavailable for Saturday's first Test, meaning the team that ran the Kiwis so close was severely under-strength.
Now available for the second Test are Six Nations stalwarts Billy Vunipola, Tom Wood, Courtney Lawes, Dylan Hartley, Owen Farrell and Luther Burrell.
Furthermore, first-choice scrum-half Danny Care has been passed fit for Dunedin and will start, per The Guardian:
Ben Youngs was given a chance in the first encounter after Care picked up a shoulder injury in training ahead of the series opener in Auckland. However, his Six Nations performances earlier this year have made Care the indisputable first-choice in the position for England.
His passion can certainly not be called into question either, Joe Marler tweeted the missive the Harlequins No. 9 left him ahead of the first Test:
The feeling in the England camp will surely be one of great positivity leading up to the crucial second Test. If a weakened England side could be so competitive against the best team in the world, what will a full-strength side be capable of?
However, after such an impressive opening performance, Lancaster faced one of the most difficult team decisions of his tenure in charge of England.
The likes of Freddie Burns and James Haskell performed magnificently on Saturday, but they have been replaced by Farrell and Wood respectively, per BBC Sport.
Also, what will come of Manu Tuilagi's move out to the wing?
Manu Tuilagi picked to play on the wing for England. The finishing power needed or too bigger loss in the midfield? Tell us what you think— BT Sport Rugby (@btsportrugby) June 12, 2014
Further changes to the first Test side see Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell come in to the centres. Lancaster has not made as many changes as some expected, but the squad looks very strong, and it needs to be.
While there was pride in Saturday's defeat, that will not be the case if the series is lost in Dunedin.
World Cup Return
Dunedin holds good memories for the England team. They won there against Argentina, Georgia and Romania at the 2011 World Cup.
However, the majority of that tournament was an unqualified disaster for England, as player indiscipline cast a shadow over some decent performances.
Saturday in Dunedin is an opportunity to continue the planning for next year's World Cup on home soil. Where better to show the world that England are becoming a real force to be reckoned with than beating the reigning champions in their own back yard?
What will be the result on Saturday?
However, New Zealand will be stronger on Saturday. There will be fewer errors, they will be better prepared and potentially less complacent.
The last time England won against the Kiwis in New Zealand was in the lead up to the 2003 World Cup which Sir Clive Woodward's side would go on to win.
Why not get the giant-killing done a year earlier this time? England are not expected to win this series in New Zealand, but they must win one game for the tour to be branded a success.
It needs to be this second Test. The series needs to stay alive. With a plucky performance in Auckland, it is now time for England to take the victory.