Wednesday 17 January 2018

Video: Lancaster sights set on All Blacks model

Nigel Whittaker

England head coach Stuart Lancaster insisted the time has come for evolution not revolution after he named his most inexperienced team yet to face Fiji at Twickenham.

England's starting XV for the first of four autumn internationals includes the debutant Leicester hooker Tom Youngs and features 11 players with 13 caps or less.

The Saracens prop Mako Vunipola and Wasps lock Joe Launchbury, both 21, are also primed to make their England debuts.

If they do come on, Lancaster will have capped 16 new players in nine Test matches as he attempts to build an England team for the generation.

Lancaster is determined to emulate New Zealand and end the need for England to constantly rebuild the team at the start of every new World Cup cycle.

But he also maintains that England's long-term gain does not have to mean short-term pain.

"Someone said the All Blacks don't go through that period of renewal, it is a gradual drip-feed of new players -- and that is where we should be from now on," Lancaster said.

Exeter's Sireli Naqelevuki and Leicester's Vereneki Goneva will form a dangerous centre partnership for Fiji, while Gloucester's Akapusi Qera starts at No 8 after receiving a late call-up into the squad, which is captained once again by the Scarlets prop Deacon Manu.

Watisoni Votu, whose move to Exeter has been delayed over visa issues, starts on the left wing with Samu Wara, from Super 15 franchise Western Force, on the right.

Meanwhile, Australia coach Robbie Deans has made three changes to his pack for the Test against France in Paris tomorrow.

Prop Sekope Kepu, lock Kane Douglas and back-rower Dave Dennis are all handed starts for the opening fixture of the Wallabies' European tour.

Irish Independent

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