With the 2023 World Cup in France less than a year away, England face a real acid test at Twickenham against New Zealand on Saturday afternoon.
Having already suffered defeat to Argentina earlier this month, the pressure is mounting on head coach Eddie Jones to get a result against a World Cup contender in this autumn series.
England vs New Zealand Betting Tips
Jones has made a big call at scrum-half ahead of Saturday’s autumn international at Twickenham, with Jack van Poortvliet given a starting role.
Experienced Leicester team-mate Ben Youngs, who has 117 caps for his country, has been named on the bench, while 21-year-old Van Poortvliet gets a third Test start.
Meanwhile, Exeter’s Sam Simmonds is handed a start at blindside flanker after playing at number eight in the 52-13 win over Japan last weekend.
Saracens star Maro Itoje moves from the back-row to the second-row where he will partner lock Jonny Hill, with the experienced Billy Vunipola coming in at No.8.
As for visitors New Zealand, they welcome back veteran second row Brodie Retallick after he missed their 31-23 win over Scotland last Saturday due to suspension.
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has shuffled his backline, with Richie Mo’unga coming into fly-half and Beauden Barrett going to full-back.
Jordie Barrett started in the No.15 jersey at Murrayfield, but has been moved into the centres to partner Rieko Ioane.
New Zealand -3.5 handicap – Evens
New Zealand will possibly be looking for some revenge when they take on England having lost to Jones’s 19-7 in their last meeting at the 2019 World Cup semi-final.
England were by far the better team that day at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama as they went on to the final, only to lose to South Africa.
The All Blacks do have an impressive record against the English, having won 15 of their last 17 meetings.
New Zealand will need to improve on what was a scrappy performance against the Scots, but they might have been given the scare north of the border needed to bring out a better display in London this weekend.
The All Blacks have the pack and the strike runners in their dangerous backline to fall on the right side of the -3.5 handicap at Evens.
Beauden Barrett anytime tryscorer – 5/2
Moved from his more familiar position at fly-half, Barrett is still no stranger to playing at full-back for his country.
As Argentina showed in their 30-29 win at Twickenham earlier this month, England can be vulnerable defensively in the wider channels.
With space to run in out wide, the speedy and skilled Barrett is worthy of consideration at 5/2 to score a try at any time on Saturday at Rugby HQ.