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VIDEO EXCLUSIVE - Lancaster talks through five key selections

14 November 2013

  • Watch England's head coach explain five pivotal selections in his side to face New Zealand
  • Lancaster pinpoints the qualities of Cole, Marler, Mullan, Farrell and the back three

Before publicly naming his England team to face New Zealand in the third QBE International at Twickenham on Saturday, Stuart Lancaster sat down with RFUtv to talk through five of his key selections. 

New Zealand had earlier announced a hugely experienced side that boasts 959 caps in their match day 23, with Dan Carter winning his 100th cap and Julian Savea returning on the wing.

Dan Cole (Leicester tight-head prop, 42 caps)

England's Dan Cole

Photo: Getty Images

I think everyone is going to have to draw on every bit of experience that they have got. Dan has clearly played in big games, he has played against New Zealand a few times, he has been on the British and Irish Lions tour and we feel that is the reason he should start in this particular game. We thought that David Wilson did extremely well last week and he will be a useful impact guy to come off the bench. The tight head is the component part of the scrum. He has got a good loose head and hooker alongside him and Joe Launchbury is an excellent man to have behind him in the second row. So we have a good-sized pack there, but we also know how good New Zealand are technically in the scrum. I have never really seen them struggle.

Joe Marler (Harlequins loose-head prop, 14 caps)

England's Joe Marler

Photo: Getty Images

It is a mandatory six-day turnaround [after Marler came off against Argentina with suspicion of concussion]. He has been through that and is good to go. He was probably the man of the tour [to Argentina in the summer] for me in terms of the quality he delivered in the set-piece and in the loose. Since the start of the season he is obviously in a competitive position but he has stayed in there and he has fought hard for his place. Unfortunately, injuries to Alex [Corbisiero] and Mako [Vunipola] have meant they are unavailable, but we are more than happy with Joe Marler.

Matt Mullan (London Wasps loose-head prop, 1 cap)

England's Matt Mullan

Photo: Gettu Images

It was disappointing for the team [to lose Corbisiero to injury] but more so for him because he had worked so diligently and professionally during the week. Clearly there is something not quite right with that knee and you can’t put someone into a game against the likes of the All Blacks when they have any doubt physically or mentally. So it is disappointing for him but a great opportunity for Joe.

Matt is someone I have coached a lot. When I first coached the Saxons back in 2007 Matt was involved in that so he and I go back a long way and he is very much up to speed with the rugby programme and the on-field and off-field mindset that we need to win this game. He is an intelligent rugby player and scrum-wise he has really benefited from the new scrum laws this season. So I am sure he will be very comfortable coming off the bench and we trust him.

Owen Farrell (Saracens fly half, 18 caps)

England's Owen Farrell

Photo: Getty Images

I think he shows great leadership. He is the brains of the team but also the energy of the team as well. He is still a young player and developing but he has a big-game temperament as we saw last year. He delivered in that game [when England beat the All Blacks at Twickenham] and I think he will deliver again. He is that type of player. He inspires others around him and breeds confidence in them. You can’t go into a game without being good at managing games, playing in the right areas but also playing at the right time, if it is on it is on. We have been working on all the areas; set-piece, attack, defence and game management. New Zealand have got it to a tee. They really manage the game well and Dan Carter is the lynchpin in that. I am excited about playing against him and playing his 100th cap, it is a great honour for him and I am sure he will respond accordingly.

The back three (Mike Brown, Chris Ashton and Ben Foden)

England's Mike Brown

Photo: Getty Images

The All Blacks kick the ball quite a lot from nine, 10 and 12 so there will be challenges in the back field for those three, but equally all three are exciting runners with ball in hand and we want to make sure we do that. I think the forecast is set fine for the day so I think that will benefit both teams. Their back three is not bad either. It will be played at such an intensity and such will be the physicality that the decision-making gets reduced to almost instinct and delivery under pressure. We have won nine out of our last 10 games and we can take a lot of confidence from that. They have won 10 out of their last 10 so it is a great match-up at Twickenham. They will have one thought on last year as will we. So it will be a fascinating contest, and one of those sporting occasions when people are privileged to be there, so will I and the coaching team.