English ripe to be Kiwi fodder

ENGLAND v New Zealand

Tomorrow (ko 2.30) Live Sky Sports 1

HAVING ruthlessly dismantled Italy, Scotland and Wales, the All Blacks, fortified by the return of Dan Carter, turn their attention to Stuart Lancaster's fragile-looking England.

Poor decision-making and a lack of leadership in the back division mean England have learned little this autumn and now they face Steve Hansen's New Zealand, who have been handing out punishing lessons in the last month.

The rugby gods may have given England an edge with the news that all but two of the All Black squad have been struck down by the vomiting and diarrhoea-inducing norovirus or winter vomiting bug.

Number eight Kieran Read was one of those affected by the bug yesterday.

"Personally, I'm feeling a lot better today. The boys had a good guided tour of the bathrooms yesterday on their day off," he said.

"It's a 24-hour thing.

"It's just something you have to handle and we'll be all right for Saturday."


With New Zealand gaining a fly-half, England are losing one as Owen Farrell, who was bizarrely shortlisted for the IRB player of the year, replaces the injured Toby Flood.

If England are to have any chance of ending New Zealand's 20-game unbeaten streak, Farrell must get the better of the battle of the number 10s.

The Saracens number 10 is a rising talent but Carter, who has recovered from injury, is arguably the greatest out-half to ever grace the game.

There's only going to be one result.