Cole back for England vs All Blacks
LONDON (AP) — Dan Cole returned to England’s front row in place of David Wilson in the only change to the starting team ahead of Saturday’s autumn international against New Zealand at Twickenham.
Fellow prop Matt Mullan was named among the replacements Thursday with Alex Corbisiero and Mako Vunipola injured, while scrumhalf Ben Youngs is back on the bench in place of Danny Care in the only other change to the matchday 23.
England remains without first-choice center pairing Brad Barritt and Manu Tuilagi so coach Stuart Lancaster continues with Joel Tomkins and Billy Twelvetrees, who struggled to impress in successive wins over Australia and Argentina this month.
Hooker Dylan Hartley starts ahead of Tom Youngs to win his 50th cap.
The English are looking to back up last year’s record 38-21 victory over New Zealand — the All Blacks’ only loss since the 2011 World Cup.
“We have been unable to consider a number of players due to short and long-term injuries,” Lancaster said. “But we are ready for the challenge of playing a top-quality side in New Zealand and are excited about playing at Twickenham.”
England has won its last six home matches and nine of the last 10 under Lancaster stretching back to the victory over New Zealand last December.
The hosts are seeking to sweep their autumn series after beating Australia 20-13 and Argentina 31-12.
Mike Brown, Chris Ashton, Joel Tomkins, Billy Twelvetrees, Ben Foden, Owen Farrell, Lee Dickson; Billy Vunipola, Chris Robshaw (captain), Tom Wood, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler. Reserves: Tom Youngs, Matt Mullan, David Wilson, Geoff Parling, Ben Morgan, Ben Youngs, Toby Flood, Alex Goode.