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Kyle Eastmond will start at inside centre for England in the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland, with seven starters remaining from

the last RBS 6 Nations outing against Italy.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster is shorn of players from Aviva

Premiership finalists Northampton Saints and Saracens for the opening

game of the three-Test series, meaning only captain Chris Robshaw, Mike

Brown, Danny Care, Joe Launchbury, Jonny May, Ben Morgan and David

Wilson make back-to-back starts.

Bath Rugby centre Eastmond, who made his only Test start in Argentina

last summer, replaces Billy Twelvetrees, who is not yet fit after an

end-of-season ankle injury. The 24 year-old rugby league convert will

start outside fly half Freddie Burns after their effective combination

on the tour to South America last summer.

James Haskell’s muscular presence returns to blindside flanker after a

12-month international aBsence, while British and Irish Lions Geoff

Parling and Manu Tuilagi reappear at lock and outside centre


Another physical force, Marland Yarde, also returns on the right wing

after missing the 2014 RBS 6 Nations through injury. Uncapped hooker

Joe Gray and full back Chris Pennell make first appearances on the bench


The All Blacks have a formidable record at Eden Park, a 31-game

winning streak which stretches back to 1994. But far from cowed by the

prospect, Lancaster is satisfied with his side’s preparation ahead of an

acid test of their progress.

He said: “We’ve had a good week’s training in Auckland and have

prepared well and are ready for the massive challenge ahead. It doesn’t

get much bigger than playing New Zealand at Eden Park where they haven’t

lost in 20 years but those selected know what they have to do.

“Billy Twelvetrees is recovering well from his ankle injury and

should be available for the second Test and it’s now a good opportunity

for Kyle Eastmond to build on what he achieved in Argentina last summer.

“It’s great to welcome back Geoff Parling and James Haskell who have a

lot of experience and equally it’s a fantastic opportunity for Joe Gray

and Chris Pennell, who have really impressed in training, should they

come off the bench for their first caps.

“We’ve had lots of messages of support and I am sure the players will

be giving their all at the start of this three test series.”

First Test, Steinlager Series, Eden Park, Saturday, June 7, 7.35pm NZST/8.35am BST

England team to face New Zealand

15 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 26 caps)

14 Marland Yarde (London Irish, 2 caps)

13 Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 22 caps)

12 Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby, 2 caps)

11 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 6 caps)

10 Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps)

Danny Care (Harlequins, 47 caps)

Joe Marler (Harlequins, 19 caps)

Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, 5 caps)

David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 34 caps)

Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 19 caps)

Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers, 19 caps)

James Haskell (London Wasps, 50 caps)

Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 25 caps)

Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 20 caps)


16 Joe Gray (Harlequins, uncapped)

17 Matt Mullan (London Wasps, 3 caps)

18 Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks, 6 caps)

19 Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)

20 Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)

21 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 35 caps)

22 Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks, 7 caps)

23 Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors, uncapped)

The first test will be televised live on Sky Sports HD at 08:35am. Bacon sandwiches and a big mug of coffee and we’re ready to go!!!  #carrythemhome

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