Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Ashton to make first England start in four years against All Blacks

Ashton to make first England start in four years against All Blacks

Like the class of 2018, New Zealand were in bristling form in 2012 - they had already beaten Scotland 51-22, Italy 42-10 and Wales 33-10.

England were far from convincing in a 12-11 win over South Africa at Twickenham last weekend.

But his strike rate of 19 tries makes him a key weapon that Jones insists must be deployed from the start at Twickenham where the rivals collide for the first time in four years. The 21-year-old just can not stop scoring with a brilliant record of 22 tries in 21 Tests.

"Guys like that, the only thing you can do is stuff them up by coaching them".

Now another of English rugby union's most notorious recidivists, Chris Ashton, has re-entered the Test picture, with the same kind of air of the unexpected, with his selection to start in the big Test of the autumn against the world champions, New Zealand, at Twickenham tomorrow. "Give them a free rein with a framework to operate in, make them feel good about themselves with a smile on their face, and away they go".

Leicester hooker Youngs, right, who won his fourth cap that day, told The Rugby Paper: "We were definitely under huge pressure after losing to Australia and South Africa, but it actually tightened us as a group and we got ready for a massive, massive battle". England stayed within touching distance and the boot of Owen Farrell and Elliot Daly edged them home.

"If he was Sexton then we'd be able to complain about him, but because he's Owen Farrell he's allowed to be hit late".

"He's a tough rooster, a warrior". He takes the ball to the line, he puts his body on the line, he doesn't play in a dinner suit.

This week the All Blacks' management and players regularly touched on the differences in style between the southern and northern hemispheres, nearly taunting England to deviate from its script. "It doesn't matter which one you play we've just got work out what combinations really gel well together and what we can do with the bench". For us it's about making our own statement.

And if New Zealand are offended, so what? The British and Irish Lions second row joked it "would be good" if the influential Retallick had been allocated the same bed this week. "I need to be competitive and abrasive, but I have to react to the referee better and understand what he is and isn't going to let go", he said.

For all they scored tries through Ben Cohen, Lewis Moody and flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson, who completed a full set of scores by also kicking two conversions, three penalties and a drop-goal, England were indebted to powerhouse wing Cohen's try-saving tackle on Ben Blair and an injury line-out steal by replacement lock Ben Kay for a narrow victory.

Healey says the Haka has always been a "massive advantage" for the All Blacks, and to combat it England must act, be it "walking towards the All Blacks, or ignoring it, however they want to".

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