New Zealand v England: All Blacks poised to wrap up series with win

England could suffer more disappointment against the All Blacks this weekend
England could suffer more disappointment against the All Blacks this weekend

Simon Mail previews the final match of the series and expects world champions New Zealand to prove too strong for England again...

"There has not been a massive gulf as five-point and one point winning margins indicate. It seems stupid to ignore this trend and backing England with a handicap advantage again looks a shrewd bet."


New Zealand v England
Saturday June 21, 08:35
Live on Sky Sports 1


It has been a frustrating series for England with plenty of encouragement despite losing both of the matches against the All Blacks. Stuart Lancaster's side have twice seen winning positions squandered as the world champions have found a way to victory. The visitors will be desperate to finish the tour with a win but New Zealand are looking for a record equalling 17th successive Test victory.

England built an early advantage last weekend and took a 10-6 lead into the break. But they were overwhelmed in the second half by a brilliant spell of attacking rugby by New Zealand. The visitors had no answer to the All Blacks but did manage to make the scoreline a lot tighter as two late tries reduced the final deficit to one point.

There was a positive midweek performance from England as squad players eased to a 38-7 win over the Crusaders. Although most of this team will not be involved in the final Test, it was still a productive exercise as players such as Danny Cipriani and James Haskell made a decent impression in the six-try victory.

For the third Test, Owen Farrell is ruled out with a knee injury. His place at fly-half has gone to Freddie Burns and it is another great opportunity for the Leicester Tigers signing. The 24-year-old was excellent in the opening defeat to New Zealand and very unlucky to be left out. This match hands him a chance to stake his claim for the shirt ahead of next year's World Cup.

The gamble on playing Manu Tuilagi on the wing did not pay off and the Leicester powerhouse reverts back to the centre alongside, his partner from the first Test, Kyle Eastmond. These two performed so impressively in that match and have so much pace and energy between them which could cause the All Blacks problems. Scrum-half Danny Care misses out with a shoulder injury which has given Ben Youngs a chance to shine.

New Zealand are arguably stronger this weekend as they are able to include the 2013 IRB player of the year, Kieran Read in their side. The forward missed the first two matches with concussion but is fit to take the number eight shirt in Hamilton. Malakai Fekitoa is handed his first start as the centre replaces Conrad Smith who is nursing a broken thumb.

The All Blacks are chasing history and know a win will equal the record for consecutive Test victories. It is hard to bet against them especially with the return of the influential Read. New Zealand have found a way to win, despite not being at their best for the majority of the last two games. But there has not been a massive gulf as five-point and one point winning margins indicate. It seems stupid to ignore this trend and backing England with a handicap advantage again looks a shrewd bet. 

Although there is always the possibility that the All Blacks could run riot and blow away England, as they did at the start of the second half in Dunedin, the recent clashes point towards another narrow home win. Another bet worth taking is even money on Ben Smith scoring for New Zealand. The outstanding full-back displayed all his dazzling skills last week which was rewarded with a try. Smith can cross the line again and help the All Blacks clinch a 3-0 series win. 


Recommended Bets
Back England +9 in the Sportsbook at 2.35/4
Back New Zealand to win by under 12.5 points at 2.77/4
Back Ben Smith to score a try at 21/1


Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster


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