"History Makers?" - Predicting the England team to face the All Blacks at Eden Park - Page 3 of 3 - Ruck

“History Makers?” – Predicting the England team to face the All Blacks at Eden Park


4. Maro Itoje (Saracens)

5. George Martin (Leicester Tigers)

George Martin of England is tackled by Christ Tshiunza of Wales and Keiron Assiratti of Wales during the Summer Nations Series Rugby match between Wales and England at Principality Stadium on August 5, 2023 in Cardiff, Wales. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

Onto the locks now, and we see no replacing the dynamic duo of Maro Itoje and George Martin. In the absence of Ollie Chessum, Martin has become the opportune Tiger to take up the England five jersey, and hammered home some formidable hits against the All Blacks last weekend. Understandably upset with the full-time result, England head coach Steve Borthwick recently discussed a conversation he had with Martin, in how the set-backs will only improve him as an all-round player.

Maro Itoje of England during the Six Nations Match between England and Wales at Twickenham, London on 10 February 2024 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

And we have selected Maro Itoje, with the Saracen lock set for his 33rd and final match of the exhaustive 2023/24 season. With an impressive campaign that has seen Itoje overcome a knee injury and remain in the squad for his club and country, Itoje has all eyes on a history making win. The lock expressed in a post match interview following England’s defeat to New Zealand, Itoje lined up the All Blacks 30-year record of success at Eden Park and said ‘records are meant to be broken’.


6. Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins)

7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby)

8. Ben Earl (Saracens)

Chandler Cunningham-South of England during the England Captains Run at Twickenham Stadium, London on 9 February 2024 (Photo: George Beck/PPAUK)

And rounding off the starting XV, we have opted for an unchanged trio from that who started against the All Blacks in Dunedin. Tom Curry’s season long absence has certainly opened up the door for Chandler Cunningham-South, with the Harlequin taking full advantage of the vacancy left by the former England captain. The New Zealand born back row even spoke with the reporting media today, about how he grew up in Auckland in awe of the All Blacks, with it surreal that he now faces the haka on the opposition end of the pitch.

Sam Underhill of England during the International match between England and USA at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on July 4 2021. – PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

Sam Underhill is our pick once more on the open side, with the Bath man leaving his opponents rather sore after flying out the line. The direction is clear for Underhill, as he has been sent firing out of the line time and again, after taking full orders from defence coach Felix Jones. Underhill enjoyed an albeit brief re-kindling of the ‘Under-Curry’ partnership, that left bruises on England’s opponents at the end of the Eddie Jones era, with another reunion in store should Cunningham-South empty the tank.

Ben Earl of England celebrates after winning during the Guinness Six Nations Match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on March 9th 2024. – PHOTO: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

And last, but by no means least, Ben Earl brings up the number eight role for the potentially history making match against New Zealand. The Saracen has pushed on with his goal to become the best player in the world, and enjoyed the challenge of going head to head with Ardie Savea in Dunedin.

Whilst Alex Dombrandt is by no means out of the picture, there is simply no replacing Ben Earl in the starting XV with the form that he is in. Earl has been impressing fans across both hemispheres, and could well be England’s man to take the lead for an unforgettable end to their Summer tour.


16. Theo Dan (Saracens)

17. Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks)

18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby)

19. Alex Coles (Northampton Saints)

20. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)

21. Ben Spencer (Bath Rugby)

22. Fin Smith (Northampton Saints)

23. Joe Carpenter (Sale Sharks) (Debut)