Owen Farrell set for England bow against New Zealand

OWEN Farrell will start his first QBE International against New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.

The Saracens fly-half, nominated as IRB Player of the Year 2012, replaces Toby Flood as the only change to the XV that started against South Africa.

Farrell is a former pupil of St George’s School, Harpenden, and his family, which includes his father Andy who coaches in the England set-up and is former Sarries first team coach, still live in the area.

Freddie Burns of Gloucester comes on to the bench with Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) also making his series debut among the replacements instead of Mouritz Botha.

The game is scheduled for a 2.30pm start and is live on SkySports HD.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We asked for a big response from the players after Australia and we got one last Saturday against South Africa, although ultimately we were denied.

“That frustration has been channelled this week and the whole squad has reacted with a determination to get a victory against the top team in the world.

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“We are delighted that Courtney has got an opportunity. He has worked hard to get back in contention and what better game for him to make an impact. The same with Freddie Burns, who has had a great Premiership season so far, and we are looking forward to seeing him contribute should he get his chance.”