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New Zealand v England: Fin Baxter to make England debut at Eden Park

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Caption, Fin Baxter made his debut for England in the 16-15 defeat to New Zealand on July 6

Harlequins prop Fin Baxter will make his first England debut against New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday.

Baxter made his international debut as a first-half substitute for his Quins teammate in Dunedin, while Marler missed the second and final Test match in Auckland due to a foot injury.

Sale’s Bevan Rodd was added to the bench in the only change to the matchday squad as England moved towards becoming the first team to beat the All Blacks at the 50,000-capacity Eden Park since 1994.

“I want them to play big this weekend,” England manager Steve Borthwick told BBC Sport.

“New Zealand has a terrific record in this area, but with that comes the pressure of expectation.

“It will be interesting to see how New Zealand live up to that expectation in front of a full house.”

Dan Cole, who will move up to second place in the list of men with the most appearances for the England national team if he comes off the bench and makes his 115th appearance, is also among those included in the squad.

Leicester’s current back is level with 2003 World Cup winner Jason Leonard, while second-half Ben Youngs is the club’s most important player with 127 appearances.

“Dan has shown nothing but dedication and determination throughout his career and to reach this milestone is an extraordinary achievement,” Borthwick added.

“He is a superb rugby player, a fantastic role model and we are all looking forward to spending an unforgettable day with him on Saturday.”

New Zealand also made a forced change to their starting 15, with Finlay Christie replacing the injured TJ Perenara at scrum-half, while Cortez Ratima, who has not played, is on the bench.

“We can feel the support from New Zealand in Auckland and we will hear it at Eden Park too,” head coach Scott Robertson said.

“This is a very special venue for the All Blacks and we’re going there on Saturday to win the series against England.”


New Zeland: Perofeta; Reece, Ioane, J Barrett, Tele; McKenzie, Christie; De Groot, Taylor, Lomax, S Barrett (captain), Tuipulotu, Finau, Papali’i, Savea.

Backups: Aumua, Tu’ungafasi, Newell, Vaa’i, Jacobson, Ratima, Lienert-Brown, B. Barrett.

England: Furbank; Feyi-Waboso, Slade, Lawrence, Freeman; M. Smith, Mitchell; Baxter, George (captain), Stuart, Itoje, Martin, Cunningham-South, Underhill, Earl.

Backups: Dan, Rodd, Cole, Coles, Curry, Spencer, F Smith, Sleightholme.