Cokanasiga ruled out of New Zealand clash with ankle injury


England take on New Zealand on Saturday at Twickenham; the two teams are meeting for the first time since the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final that England won 19-7; Joe Cokanasiga is unavailable for selection this weekend after suffering an ankle injury in England’s win over Japan

Last Updated: 15/11/22 6:17pm

Joe Cokanasiga will miss the game against New Zealand Joe Cokanasiga will miss the game against New Zealand

Joe Cokanasiga will miss the game against New Zealand

Joe Cokanasiga has been ruled out of England’s clash against New Zealand with an ankle injury sustained in the win over Japan.

Cokanasiga was a late call-up for the 52-13 victory over Japan after Jack Nowell was unable to recover in time from an abdominal issue, but the giant Bath back has now been added to the injury list.

Nowell is present among a reduced 25-man squad, however, and is on course to return to the starting XV, with Tommy Freeman also present as additional wing cover.

England are preparing for a first meeting with New Zealand since their stunning 19-7 win over the All Blacks in the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final.

Eddie Jones has urged his players to embrace the opportunity and insisted that this team will “go after” New Zealand.

The All Blacks were dominant against Wales two weeks ago but a changed side struggled to hit the heights for the full 80 minutes and had to come from behind to beat Scotland on Sunday.

Jones will name his match-day 23 on Thursday morning.

England 25-player squad for New Zealand

Forwards: Alex Coles, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, David Ribbans, Sam Simmonds, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola and Jack Willis.

Backs: Owen Farrell, Tommy Freeman, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Guy Porter, Henry Slade, Marcus Smith, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet and Ben Youngs.

George: Farrell has changed the way English rugby is played

Owen Farrell has been credited with transforming the mindset of English rugby as he prepares to join the nation’s small band of Test centurions.

Captain Owen Farrell is in line to make his 100th international appearance on Saturday while fellow back Freddie Steward will take on New Zealand for the first time.

Steward has insisted that he will reach game day having demystified the aura of the All Blacks.

“As a young lad who’s watched rugby his whole life, the All Blacks are the team you want to play against,” Steward said.

England’s Autumn Internationals

Sunday, November 6 England 29-30 Argentina
Saturday, November 12 England 52-13 Japan
Saturday, November 19 England vs New Zealand 5.30pm
Saturday, November 26 England vs South Africa 5.30pm

“To be able to face the Haka is just so exciting. I’ll probably need to get over being star struck in the week so that come game-day I’m in a position where I’m ready to perform.

“But it’s important not to get caught up in that aura of their history and their success and just treat it as just another game.

“We’ll work out what we did well against Japan and what we didn’t do well, put it right and put together a plan to beat them.”

Jones: We’ll go after New Zealand

England's head coach wants his players to embrace the occasion against New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium England's head coach wants his players to embrace the occasion against New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium

England’s head coach wants his players to embrace the occasion against New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium

England head coach Jones cannot wait for his players to line-up against the Kiwis once again.

“It’s an opportunity to play against one of the giants of world rugby,” Jones said. “They’re in a redevelopment period of their game, they’re about to play Scotland so we’ll have a look at that and then chat about how we play against them.

“For an England player, it’s a massive opportunity. If you look at the history of the sport, the game’s been going for 150 years and England’s won 22 per cent of Tests against New Zealand.

England defence coach Anthony Seibold hails the impact that Eddie Jones has had on his coaching as he prepares to leave his role to return to the NRL

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England defence coach Anthony Seibold hails the impact that Eddie Jones has had on his coaching as he prepares to leave his role to return to the NRL

England defence coach Anthony Seibold hails the impact that Eddie Jones has had on his coaching as he prepares to leave his role to return to the NRL

“So, there’s a narrative about the game that says England can’t beat New Zealand. At the 2019 World Cup, I think we showed that if you’ve got the right attitude, the right game plan, then history can be broken.

“We’ve got a great opportunity this coming week to break history again and we look forward to the opportunity.”

England’s 19-7 result against New Zealand in that Rugby World Cup semi-final featured a number of individuals who remain in Jones’ squad.

Jones said: “The guys who played in that game, guys like Owen, Mako, Billy, Jamie George and Maro are going to be important in reinforcing to the players that it’s not mission impossible.

“If we go after them, then they’re there for the taking and we’re going to go after them.”

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