Planet Rugby

Preview: New Zealand v England

15th July 2013 12:07

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Marlie Packer for England Women against Black Ferns

Openside: Marlie Packer

New Zealand and England will do battle once again this week as the Black Ferns look to make it 2-0 in Hamilton's second of three Tests.

Brian Evans has maintained the bulk of his XV that defeated England 29-10 at Eden Park.

Jackie Patea gets a start in the number 4 jersey, with Rawinia Everitt moving from lock to blindside flanker. The seasoned Emma Jensen comes in to start at 9, with Kendra Cocksedge moving the bench. Selica Winiata starts on the wing with Portia Woodman set to feature off the bench.

Auckland's 18-year-old Mele Hufanga has been named in the 23 and looks set to make her debut.

"I'm really pleased with the way the girls played on Saturday - there were some really good individual performances, but we know England will be hurting and will come at us strong tomorrow night," said Evans.

"There are a few sore bodies in the squad, but every one of the players has pushed hard for a spot to play.

"Our focus tomorrow night needs to be on getting an advantage early and working on maintaining ball. We know that we have some very good finishers in the side, but we have to have the ball for them to be able to do anything."

Black Ferns vice-captain and Waikato player, Victoria Grant said the team was loving the home advantage.

"It's been a long time since we have played at home and it's amazing for many of us to be able to have our families and friends come out and support.

"I encourage everyone who is a supporter of the black jersey and women's rugby to get out to Waikato Stadium and cheer us on tomorrow," she said.

Meanwhile, England Women's head coach Gary Street has made ten changes to the starting line-up, three positional, for Tuesday's second Test.

After a disappointing 29-10 defeat at Eden Park on Saturday, which saw England lose their first game in seven matches to the Black Ferns, Street has made several changes as England look to even up the Series ahead of Saturday's final Test match in Pukekohe.

Lichfield's Sarah Hunter will once again captain England but she moves to flanker with club and country team-mate Harriet Millar-Mills starting her first game of the Series at number 8. Also in the pack Vicky Fleetwood and Laura Keates start in the front-row whilst Emily Braund is given the nod at lock.

In the backs, Emily Scarratt moves to centre with Kay Wilson going to full-back providing England with a new winger combination of Michaela Staniford and Fran Matthews for this clash. Natasha Hunt also starts at scrum-half.

"We've got the chance to freshen up the match-day squad for Tuesday and we have got players chomping at the bit to start," said Street, whose side are looking for their first win on New Zealand soil since 2001.

"We've now got another couple of days of training under our belts and we hope we can iron out the mistakes from Saturday's game. We will definitely be looking to play a full 80 minutes of rugby this time.

"Obviously this is a hugely important game as we look to try and square the Series but at the same time the bigger picture is that this tour is about building towards the 2014 Rugby World Cup which is where we will be judged. Playing in New Zealand against the Black Ferns is a tremendous learning experience for our players as we look to 12 months' time."

The teams:

New Zealand: 15 Victoria Grant, 14 Selica Winiata, 13 Claire Richardson, 12 Amiria Rule, 11 Renee Wickliffe, 10 Kelly Brazier, 9 Emma Jensen, 8 Casey Robertson, 7 Justine Lavea, 6 Rawinia Everitt, 5 Vita Dryden, 4 Jackie Patea, 3 Melodie Bosman, 2 Fiao'o Faamausili (capt), 1 Ruth McKay.
Replacements: 16 Karina Stowers, 17 Kathleen Wilton, 18 Stephanie Te Ohaere-Fox, 19 Eloise Blackwell, 20 Charmaine McMenamin, 21 Kendra Cocksedge, 22 Portia Woodman, 23 Mele Hufanga.

England: 15 Kay Wilson, 14 Francesca Matthews, 13 Emily Scarratt, 12 Rachael Burford, 11 Michaela Staniford, 10 Katy Mclean, 9 Natasha Hunt, 8 Harriet Millar-Mills, 7 Marlie Packer, 6 Sarah Hunter, 5 Emily Braund, 4 Joanne McGilchrist, 3 Sophie Hemming, 2 Victoria Fleetwood, 1 Laura Keates.
Replacements: 16 Emma Croker, 17 Kate Newton, 18 Rochelle Clark, 19 Tamara Taylor, 20 Alexandra Matthews, 21 La Toya Mason, 22 Ceri Large, 23 Sally Tuson.

Date: Tuesday, July 16
Kick-off: 19:00 local (08:00 BST, 07:00 GMT)
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

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