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New Zealand

Hansen bemoans England timing

29th May 2014 09:04

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New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has publicly suggested that the Test series against England should have been moved to July.

England landed in New Zealand on Thursday without a number of players who are competing in the Aviva Premiership Final at Twickenham on Saturday.

The list of absentees includes fly-half Owen Farrell, back rowers Tom Wood and Billy Vunipola, lock Courtney Lawes and hooker Dylan Hartley. Luther Burrell, Mako Vunipola, Lee Dickson, Chris Ashton, Alex Goode and Ben Foden are also involved.

As a result England are set to field a weaker XV in the first Test in Auckland on June 7, with Hansen belatedly suggesting that the series should have been moved to avoid a clash.

"The obvious solution would be to move the Test series to July," Hansen told the BBC.

"I don't know why they don't want to do that.

"They must think it would give an advantage to us, but in fact it would give an advantage to them."

Regarding his own squad, Hansen said that he would monitor the fitness of Kieran Read and Aaron Cruden this weekend as both return to action for the Crusaders and Chiefs respectively.

"There's another game this weekend so we'll have to wait and see who comes through that and how they come through it," added Hansen.

"Both of them are in a situation where they haven't had a lot of game time and we can't change that. That's just life.

"We'll make our judgements on them once they get through Saturday. If they both play and they come through that, we'll get the group together and make some decisions on who's going to start."

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