sport

Test still 'huge' for England

England head coach Stuart Lancaster says the third Test against New Zealand is a ‘huge game’ for his side despite the series already being lost.

The All Blacks are 2-0 up going into the final meeting at the Waikato Stadium and will target a whitewash against Lancaster's tourists.

A New Zealand win would give them a record-equalling 17th successive victory while England are playing primarily to restore the pride they lost in the previous two matches.

Lancaster says his players are desperate to avoid a 3-0 series defeat and does not see the game as 'dead rubber'.

"The series will be judged ultimately by the scoreline. We desperately want that win and that's why we need to put in a high quality performance," Lancaster said.

"We don't see this third game as any sort of dead rubber whatsoever, it's a hugely important game for us and New Zealand.

"They want to build momentum heading into the Rugby Championship and we want to finish the season strongly. It would be huge to beat the All Blacks away.

"We've been close to doing that in these two games and we want to get that win so that when we play New Zealand at Twickenham in November we're in a strong position."

The Kiwis won the second Test in emphatic fashion, despite the 28-27 scoreline, and their head coach Steve Hanson has questioned the tactical nous of his opposite number Lancaster in the games to date.

"They are in a bit of a quandary really because they took us on in Dunedin playing a game of real pace and worked out they couldn't," Hansen said.

"So what are they going to do now? I've seen Lancaster mention in the paper that maybe they shouldn't play too much rugby down their end, so maybe they're going to kick a wee bit more.

"But they will have a good plan because they are good coaches, so we've just got to make sure we've got a good one to counter it.

"England are a determined bunch so they'll want to put in another performance they can be proud of, so I don't think we've broken their spirit.

"They're a group of people who believe in themselves, so they'll get up again for the last Test."

England team to face New Zealand:

M Brown (Harlequins); C Ashton (Saracens), M Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), K Eastmond (Bath), M Yarde (Harlequins); F Burns (Leicester), B Youngs (LeicesterTigers); J Marler (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), D Wilson (Bath), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), G Parling (Leicester Tigers), T Wood (Northampton Saints), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: R Webber (Bath), M Mullan (Wasps), K Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), J Launchbury (Wasps), B Morgan (Gloucester), L Dickson (Northampton Saints), D Cipriani (Sale Sharks), L Burrell (Northampton Saints).