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Andy Goode includes Joe Marler in his England XV to beat New Zealand on summer tour

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Friday Jun 14, 2024

Former England fly half Andy Goode has written a column for RugbyPass assessing the upcoming international matches between New Zealand and England, with a focus on how exactly the visitors can overcome their old rivals.

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Claiming that despite the famous All Blacks not “going to be losing any sleep” over England, the opportunity is there for the travelling side to defeat their hosts as the All Blacks undergo “a period of adjustment” following last year’s World Cup.

The biggest change to the squad, according to Goode, will come at number ten, with the more senior of the Smiths being given the nod.

“The one main change to England’s starting line-up will of course come at fly half with George Ford, who started all five games in the Six Nations, out with an achilles injury and Marcus Smith has to be given the keys to drive England forward. Fin Smith has had an outstanding season steering Northampton to the Premiership title but the Harlequins man was always supposed to be the starter ahead of the 2024 Six Nations until injury struck him down.”

YORK, ENGLAND – MARCH 01: Marcus Smith (L) and Fin Smith sit out training on the bench during the England training session held at the LNER Community Stadium on March 01, 2024 in York, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Following this, the former England fly half found himself looking at the all-important injury replacements, citing a combination of youth and experience as the solution.

“I think that’ll be the only change to the starting backline from the Six Nations with the rest picking themselves and in the forwards we’ll see Joe Marler and Chandler Cunningham-South coming in for the injured Ellis Genge and Ollie Chessum. Cunningham-South is only 21 years of age but has been a revelation this season, has experience of playing in New Zealand as a youngster and the opposition’s style and the conditions over there should suit him down to the ground.

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“The likes of Ben Earl, Sam Underhill and Ben Curry were always going to go, Borthwick likes a heavy number six and Hill did miss quite a chunk of the season before the run-in. I am surprised that Tom Curry hasn’t been given the summer off after his serious hip injury though and that could have opened the door for Hill.”

PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 21: Ben Earl of England in discussion with Joe Marler during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between England and South Africa at Stade de France on October 21, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Michael Steele – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

With his team in place, and no doubt ready to follow the commanding lead of the 44-year-old, it was time to hear his master plan.

“In terms of the game plan, England are going to have to take it to the All Blacks up front, as they did to teams during the World Cup, because that is where this opposition are likely to be weakest but they need to show the ambition we saw against Ireland and France in March.

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“It’s always tough to strike the right balance and England got results at the World Cup with a limited game plan but they know they can’t go back to that and that isn’t going to get you a result in Dunedin or Auckland.

“They have the physicality from the likes of Earl, Underhill, Curry, George Martin and co but Ollie Lawrence, Henry Slade, Tommy Freeman, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso and George Furbank in the backs have the perfect blend of explosiveness and creativity if Smith and Alex Mitchell are given licence to unleash them.”

Speaking about the squad, Goode added: “I honestly think this group is primed and ready to take advantage of the start of an All Blacks rebuild and become just the third English side to beat them on their own patch.”

Andy Goode’s England XV to face New Zealand in Dunedin

15 George Furbank

14 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso

13 Henry Slade

12 Ollie Lawrence

11 Tommy Freeman

10 Marcus Smith

9 Alex Mitchell

1 Joe Marler

2 Jamie George (c)

3 Dan Cole

4 Maro Itoje

5 George Martin

6 Chandler Cunningham-South

7 Sam Underhill

8 Ben Earl

For comparison, check out our starting XV here:

RugbyDump’s England starting XV for summer tour | Rugbydump

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