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England drop Cipriani to face All Blacks

  • Story Highlights
  • England drop Danny Cipriani to face the New Zealand All Blacks on Saturday
  • Cipriani one of three players axed following the record defeat by South Africa
  • Leicester's Toby Flood will replace Cipriani at flyhalf for the Twickenham fixture
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(CNN) -- England flyhalf Danny Cipriani has been dropped from the team to play the New Zealand All Blacks at Twickenham on Saturday.

Cipriani has been left out of the England side after last Saturday's record defeat by South Africa.

Leicester's Toby Flood will replace Cipriani as one of three changes made by manager Martin Johnson following last weekend's record defeat to South Africa.

Flanker Tom Rees has been dropped to the bench with Michael Lipman to start on the open-side while Nick Kennedy returns to the second row in place of Tom Palmer.

Prop Andrew Sheridan continues to miss out with his neck injury but New Zealand-born inside center Riki Flutey has recovered from a hamstring problem to line up against the All Blacks.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry has recalled outside centre Conrad Smith who missed last Saturday's 29-9 victory over Wales in Cardiff with the groin injury as his only change.

"After England's loss against South Africa, we know that they will come out and throw everything at us," said Henry whose side won 41-20 on their last visit to Twickenham two years ago.

Johnson had promised there would be no sweeping changes to the side crushed 42-6 by the Springboks -- but the decision to replace Cipriani with Flood was not unexpected.

Cipriani recovered from a dislocated fracture of the ankle six weeks early in order to play for England this autumn but he has failed to live up to the huge expectations.

He has had two kicks charged down this autumn that have led directly to tries -- against the Pacific Islanders and South Africa -- and there remain concerns over his defense.

"There's a lot more for me to give. There's just that consistency I need to find and that's something I'm going to really work on when I get back at my club," said Cipriani.

The 21-year-old said that Johnson had indicated to him he wanted to pursue his partnership with scrumhalf Danny Care.

"He still believes that there's massive potential in that halfback pairing. I think I'm only a few games in from my injury," he said in reference to the ankle he fractured in May that kept him out until October.

Facing what is likely to be his third home defeat in a row in his fourth game in charge, Johnson said dropping Cipriani was not solely about his performances against Australia and South Africa and that the young flyhalf still had a role to play against the All Blacks.

"We are picking the team for this game we think has the best chance of winning," the former England World Cup-winning captain said. "In the view of the whole thing, every game we play we pick the team accordingly. Danny is on the bench and is still involved."

Flood's last start came against the All Blacks in the second Test of the summer tour to New Zealand.

The decision to replace Rees with Lipman came as a surprise given the Wasps flanker was one of the England players to have impressed against the Wallabies and Springboks. Kennedy will win his second Test cap in place of Palmer, who suffered a calf injury against the Springboks.

Johnson has opted to changed the balance of England's replacement bench to four forwards and three backs, opening the way for Leicester's Dan Hipkiss to return to the squad.

England: D Armitage, P Sackey, J Noon, R Flutey, U Monye, T Flood, D Care, T Payne, L Mears, P Vickery, S Borthwick, N Kennedy, J Haskell, M Lipman, N Easter.

Replacements: D Hartley, M Stevens, T Croft, T Rees, H Ellis, D Cipriani, D Hipkiss.

New Zealand: M Muliaina; J Rokocoko, C Smith, M Nonu, S Sivivatu; D Carter J Cowan; T Woodcock, K Mealamu, N Tialata, B Thorn, A Williams, J Kaino, R McCaw, R So'oialo.

Replacements: H Elliott, J Afoa, A Boric, K Read, P Weepu, S Donald, I Toeava.

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