England wait on injured quartet
Tom Hamilton in Christchurch
June 16, 2014
Owen Farrell is a doubt for Saturday's Test © Getty Images
England are waiting on the fitness of four players ahead of the third Test in Hamilton.
Billy Twelvetrees has picked up a knock to the ankle that he injured back on May 3 while England are also monitoring Danny Care, Owen Farrell and Luther Burrell.
Care's shoulder is sore while Farrell has an ACL injury and Burrell is struggling with an ankle knock. Stuart Lancaster will see how the quartet fare in training on Tuesday before deciding whether they are fit for duty for Saturday's game against the All Blacks.
The England medical staff will assess the quartet this week and Lancaster said the doctor's "pretty optimistic on all of them but it's a question of when the are able to train". Despite the optimism, Kyle Eastmond's absence from the midweek side to face the Crusaders suggests he is likely to play some role on Saturday.
And despite the back-to-back defeats to the All Blacks, Lancaster has played down any notion that he will drastically change the squad for the final Test. "We wouldn't want to make wholesale changes again," Lancaster said. "One of the things that benefitted the All Blacks, from game one to two, was to make less changes so they could take the lessons from the previous game into this one. There might be subtle tweaks up front. But not lots of people out and lots in. It'll be similar in the back line."
Speaking the day after England's loss to the All Blacks, Lancaster emphasised the need to maintain focus for the full 80 minutes and preventing the Kiwis benefitting from turnover ball.
"We were more than a match for them in the set piece, more than latched them on line breaks and attacking opportunities and defensively I thought we were very strong across the board," Lancaster said. "But what we've got to better at clearly as a team is making sure we put that performance in for the full 80. We can't afford to give turnover ball away."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton