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New Zealand

Foster wary of under-strength England

26th May 2014 11:14

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Ian Foster All Blacks assistant coach 2012

Concerned: Ian Foster

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has warned against underestimating a depleted England side in next month's Test series in New Zealand.

The latter part of the Northern Hemisphere's domestic season is causing selection headaches for England head coach Stuart Lancaster, with several players already ruled out through injury and others battling to be fit for the tour.

But Foster has admitted that an under-strength England side concerns him ahead of the first Test in Auckland on June 7.

"I think that makes them very dangerous," he told the New Zealand Herald.

"I know if we had 10 players that couldn't play in that first game the players we put in there would be playing for their lives.

"So let's make no mistake, that first week's going to be a massive week because there's going to be guys in there in the English jersey that are going to be desperate to play very, very well for their own future."

All Blacks boss Steve Hansen will name a 31-man squad for the England series on Sunday which means this weekend's Super Rugby matches will be crucial for players on the fringe of the squad.

"These rounds are important for us and clearly there are some people who are putting their hand up and forcing us to think and long may that continue," added Foster.

New Zealand Super Rugby derbies have been entertaining affairs recently, and there's set to be similar action this weekend when the Blues host the Hurricanes in Auckland.

"Everyone's having a real crack at each other," said Foster.

"So it's great to watch from a competition perspective. I guess we do cross our fingers and hope we don't lose too many [players to injury]."

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