Baby-faced England prop Fin Baxter, 22, to start against All Blacks in second Test

England's Fin Baxter made his debut against the All Blacks in Dunedin. Picture: Sanka Vidanagama / AFP

England's Fin Baxter made his debut against the All Blacks in Dunedin. Picture: Sanka Vidanagama / AFP

Published Jul 11, 2024


Prop Fin Baxter was the only change in the England team named Thursday to face the All Blacks in the second Test, replacing the injured Joe Marler.

Harlequins loosehead Baxter, 22, will make his first start for England in Auckland on Saturday after coming off the bench for his debut in the 16-15 defeat at Dunedin five days ago.

England coach Steve Borthwick is confident Baxter can handle the occasion at Eden Park, where the All Blacks have not lost for 30 years.

"He's a really composed, calm young man, who is eager to learn and seems to take things in his stride," Borthwick told reporters.

"The scrum is going to be a great challenge for a young prop.

"New Zealand is a top scrummaging side, but players like Fin have now scrummed against them."

Baxter will pack down in the front row alongside England captain Jamie George at hooker and Will Stuart at tighthead.

Sale Sharks prop Bevan Rudd comes into the replacements alongside veteran front-rower Dan Cole, who could win his 115th cap.

Borthwick said the onus was on New Zealand to maintain their incredible unbeaten run at Eden Park since 1994 of 48 wins and two draws.

"It's their record, so the pressure is on them and hopefully we can cause them some problems," he said.

"The players were gutted that we didn't get the result in Dunedin, losing by a single point.

"Eden Park is a brilliant place to play rugby. I want them to go and be positive, aggressive with the ball."

England team to face the All Blacks

15 George Furbank, 14 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Tommy Freeman, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Chandler Cunningham-South, 5 George Martin, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Jamie George (captain), 1 Fin Baxter.

Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Tom Curry, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Ollie Sleightholme.


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