Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

England are ready to record historic win on New Zealand soil - Andy Goode

By Andy Goode
Marcus Smith and the All Blacks in 2022 (Getty Images)

There was never going to be a massive turnover in the England squad and there’ll be even fewer alterations to the starting XV but I firmly believe this group can be the first to win a Test on New Zealand soil since 2003.

ADVERTISEMENT

England have only ever won two Tests away against the All Blacks, the other victory coming all the way back in 1973, so it’d be a major achievement for Steve Borthwick but I think this New Zealand side are there for the taking.

There will obviously be a feelgood factor with Scott Robertson coming in as head coach but that also comes with a period of adjustment and, while there are some very good players in the mix, it isn’t a team that strikes huge fear into the opposition any more.

Video Spacer

Damian de Allende – Walk the Talk Trailer | RPTV

Springbok Damian de Allende joins Jim Hamilton for a fascinating chat about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch it exclusively on RugbyPass TV

Watch now

Video Spacer

Damian de Allende – Walk the Talk Trailer | RPTV

Springbok Damian de Allende joins Jim Hamilton for a fascinating chat about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch it exclusively on RugbyPass TV

Watch now

They aren’t going to be losing any sleep about England either, don’t get me wrong, but the last two games of this year’s Six Nations were encouraging in terms of developing a style of play that can entertain as well as prove effective.

The one main change to England’s starting line-up will of course come at fly half with George Ford, who started all five games in the Six Nations, out with an achilles injury and Marcus Smith has to be given the keys to drive England forward.

Marcus Smith
Marcus Smith/ PA

Fin Smith has had an outstanding season steering Northampton to the Premiership title but the Harlequins man was always supposed to be the starter ahead of the 2024 Six Nations until injury struck him down.

ADVERTISEMENT

Fin has only just turned 22, three years younger than Marcus, and it’ll be a phenomenal tour for him to learn on and he’ll get the opportunity to influence games from the bench but it’s time for the more experienced of the two to shine.

It’s amazing to think that Marcus Smith has started just three Tests in the England number 10 jersey in the past couple of years since the 2022 autumn internationals and I think he’s ready to make up for lost time and prove he’s international class.

I think that’ll be the only change to the starting backline from the Six Nations with the rest picking themselves and in the forwards we’ll see Joe Marler and Chandler Cunningham-South coming in for the injured Ellis Genge and Ollie Chessum.

Cunningham-South is only 21 years of age but has been a revelation this season, has experience of playing in New Zealand as a youngster and the opposition’s style and the conditions over there should suit him down to the ground.

ADVERTISEMENT

The final 36-man squad did more or less pick itself with no real glaring omissions but Ted Hill has to be the unluckiest to miss out after his form for Bath of late. He’s been sensational and only misses out because there are a lot of other back rowers in a similar mould to him who are more established.

Hill Bath England snub
Bath’s Ted Hill looks on during the Gallagher Premiership final (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

The likes of Ben Earl, Sam Underhill and Ben Curry were always going to go, Borthwick likes a heavy number six and Hill did miss quite a chunk of the season before the run-in. I am surprised that Tom Curry hasn’t been given the summer off after his serious hip injury though and that could have opened the door for Hill.

In terms of the game plan, England are going to have to take it to the All Blacks up front, as they did to teams during the World Cup, because that is where this opposition are likely to be weakest but they need to show the ambition we saw against Ireland and France in March.

It’s always tough to strike the right balance and England got results at the World Cup with a limited game plan but they know they can’t go back to that and that isn’t going to get you a result in Dunedin or Auckland.

They have the physicality from the likes of Earl, Underhill, Curry, George Martin and co but Ollie Lawrence, Henry Slade, Tommy Freeman, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso and George Furbank in the backs have the perfect blend of explosiveness and creativity if Smith and Alex Mitchell are given licence to unleash them.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso
Manny Feyi-Waboso has emerged as one of the most exciting talents in years on the wing for England (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The All Blacks still have superstars like Ardie Savea, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie and co but they are also now missing names such as Aaron Smith, Sam Whitelock, Will Jordan, Sam Cane and Richie Mo’unga for various reasons.

It’d be a massive call to suggest that England are going to win the two-Test series but I honestly think this group is primed and ready to take advantage of the start of an All Blacks rebuild and become just the third English side to beat them on their own patch.

My England XV to face New Zealand in Dunedin

15 George Furbank

14 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso

13 Henry Slade

12 Ollie Lawrence

11 Tommy Freeman

10 Marcus Smith

9 Alex Mitchell

1 Joe Marler

2 Jamie George (c)

3 Dan Cole

4 Maro Itoje

5 George Martin

6 Chandler Cunningham-South

7 Sam Underhill

8 Ben Earl

 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

44 Comments
C
ColinK 31 days ago

Well the ABs are starting a new era but it will still be a very strong team. We shall see if England can stand the heat, I suspect we will be a little vulnerable mainly due to combinations forming for the first time in the year, but it won’t be through lack of player quality. If the ABs can click England will find it tough. The NZ teams in Super Rugby this year have been playing a very physical and skillful game that will translate very well to test level and that has not always been true of Super Rugby. There is also a large bevy of new and very dynamic talent. Incredible young guys actually Wallace Sititi, Peter Lakai, Sam Darry a few examples there are quite a few others. Also Samipeni Finau has the potential to be a Kaino. He’s a beast of a player. Ardie may even slot in at 7 this year to allow some of the lose forward talent at 8 to get some runs on the board. Overall England will need to be wary, but we kiwis know how tough they can be too.

S
SadersMan 33 days ago

poms leading with the lip weeks before kickoff what else is new

J
Jen 33 days ago

‘I think this NZ side is there for the taking’
Which NZ side? The ABs squad hasn’t been named yet.

C
Craig 33 days ago

Hey guys UK, we here in NZ are looking forward to you coming here supporting and playing some good hard rugby.

j
john 33 days ago

Agree with Andy Goode selection the one I disagree with is Marler starting think he be better as replacement to have his experience will be invaluable to finish match off

m
mjp89 33 days ago

It would be really on brand for Borthwick's England to eke out a mediocre win over Japan, get absolutely annihilated in the first test, and then become the first team in 30 years to beat NZ at Eden Park.

J
Jan 33 days ago

Ah yes, Andy Goode. The man who knows what the Ireland players said to Etzebeth after their RWC test.

f
finn 33 days ago

Broadly agree with Goode’s suggested started XV, except:

1) Fin should start ahead of Marcus. He offers far more tactical flexibility.
2) Ethan Roots should start ahead of Cunningham-South. CCS struggles to play 80 minutes, so for the time being is better used for impact off the bench.
3) I’d start Ewels ahead of Itoje. There’s no need for Itoje to go over the 2400 minute limit when Ewels has had such a good season.

f
finn 33 days ago

“the Harlequins man was always supposed to be the starter ahead of the 2024 Six Nations until injury struck him down.”

this is such a terrible argument for picking Marcus Smith.

Load More Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

TRENDING
TRENDING 'One of the poorest All Blacks performances I've seen in a long time' 'One of the poorest All Blacks performances I've seen in a long time
Search