England worth backing to lead final All Blacks Test at the break
England will make seven changes from the side which were beaten 28-27 in Dunedin to lose the series to New Zealand, as they travel to Hamilton for the third and final Test.
However, the players coming back in are all proven performers for Stuart Lancaster, such as Courtney Lawes while Freddie Burns, who impressed in the first Test in Auckland, gets the nod to replace the injured Owen Farrell at fly-half.
The series may be gone but there is still the carrot of ending the All Blacks 16-match unbeaten run to spur the tourists on and below are three bets to accompany the Hamilton Test.
England may have been beaten twice but it’s not as a result of sloppy starts, as they’ve been the better side out of the blocks in both previous Kiwi encounters.
Burns found his range three times before the break in Auckland and England would have been leading 9-6 had Aaron Cruden missed his 38th-minute kick.
Thanks to a converted Marland Yarde try England led 10-6 in Dunedin at the interval and had already crushed the Crusaders 26-7 by half-time in their preceding touring match.
As mentioned above, Yarde set the ball rolling in Dunedin going over as early as the seventh minute, before Mike Brown and Chris Ashton followed suit late in the day.
Although New Zealand have scored one more try over the series, they’re yet to go over until the second 40 minutes, while England’s reserve hooker Joe Gray touched down in the very first minute against Crusaders.
You don’t win 16 consecutive Tests by accident or luck. Although a new-look England side have rattled the All-Blacks’ cage at times on this tour, especially in Dunedin, a blend of class and resilience has rescued New Zealand on both occasions.
Only two England sides have ever won a Test against the All-Blacks on New Zealand soil which gives an indication of the enormity of the task facing Lancaster’s men.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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