Steve Hansen accepted New Zealand were beaten by a better team in their Rugby World Cup semi-final loss to England, but the All Blacks coach reacted angrily to the attitude of his side being called into question.

Hansen was full of praise for England, who reached the final with a richly deserved 19-7 triumph in Yokohama that ended New Zealand's hopes of winning a third successive World Cup.

However, the departing All Blacks chief took exception to a follow-up question after revealing he had urged his players to "get hungry and desperate before it was too late" with New Zealand trailing 10-0 at half-time.

That comment prompted a reporter to ask skipper Kieran Read whether the team had "turned up with the right attitude".

After Read responded, a stern-faced Hansen said: "I'd just like to clear that up because I think it's quite a disrespectful question, to suggest the All Blacks turned up not being hungry. They're desperate to win the game.

"Because I've asked them at half-time to get hungrier, it doesn't mean to say they didn't turn up to be hungry. There's a big difference and if you want to spend some time outside I'll give you a rugby education on that one.

"To turn up and say an All Black team comes to a semi-final of the Rugby World Cup, with the amount of ability and history it's had behind it, to say it's not hungry, that's a pretty average question, I reckon."

Read said: "You've seen how hard we worked out there. Definitely the boys really wanted it. The detail of the match probably didn't go our way, but our work rate and how much we really wanted it was there.

"The guys absolutely turned up with as much as we could bring and we fell short. It's a hard thing to sit here and try and tell you exactly why it is, but we were short today, we're hurting because of it and we'll move on."

England's magnificent display drew plaudits from Hansen but the veteran coach also talked up his own players.

"We've got no regrets, I'm very proud of the All Blacks," Hansen added. "I think this tournament they've played particularly well and tonight we just got beaten by the better side. Sometimes you might find that sport's not fair, but tonight it was. We got beaten by the better side, so congratulations to them.

"We played as well as we possibly could, we just got beaten by a better team and we have to take that on the chin.

"If you don't achieve what you want to do, you have to put your big boy pants on and stand up and be counted. It doesn't stop you from hurting, it just means you've just got to accept what's been chucked at you. Sometimes sport does that to you.

"They're a good team, so there's no shame in getting beaten by them. There's a lot of hurt in it and that adversity will feed a lot more All Black teams in the future so we'll find one positive out of it."

Eddie Jones said England will have to take their game to another level in the Rugby World Cup final after dethroning "god of rugby" New Zealand.

England ended a seven-year wait for a victory over the All Blacks and beat them for the first time in a World Cup match with a dominant performance in Yokohama on Saturday.

Manu Tuilagi's try inside two minutes set the tone and George Ford kicked 12 points as England set up a showdown with South Africa or Wales at the same venue next Saturday with a 19-7 triumph.

Sam Underhill and Ben Youngs had scores disallowed in a relentless display from the Red Rose, who denied New Zealand an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup triumph and replaced them at the top of the rankings.

England head coach Jones says his side must raise their standards even higher if they are to get their hands on the Webb Ellis Cup next weekend. 

"New Zealand are the god of rugby, so we had to take it to them. We wanted to show that we could take the game to them, try to put them on the back foot as much as we could," said the Australian.

Asked where the performance ranked among England's best of all time, he said: "It gives us another week. We are here for another week so we're looking forward to it. We're not historians, so we don't know.

"But we know that we can play better next week and we're going to have to play better, whoever we play against.

"We are looking forward to Wales and South Africa play a 3-3 draw, so they have to play extra time and it's still 3-3 and they have to play more extra time. That's the prediction."

Jones is backing England to win a second World Cup four years after they suffered the humiliation of failing to progress from their pool on home soil.

"We've got the right focus. I can remember the meeting at Pennyhill Park, our first meeting together. We wanted to be the best team in the world and we're not the best team in the world," he said.

"We've an opportunity to play in a game where we can prove we are and that's the only thing we are concerned with."

If you are going to face down an All Black Haka in a V formation prior to a Rugby World Cup semi-final, with your captain wearing a confident grin, you had better deliver a performance to back up your actions.

It is safe to say England did just that in Yokohama on Saturday.

Eddie Jones' men will return to the same venue for the World Cup final in seven days after producing one of their finest displays to beat the mighty New Zealand 19-7.

Their job is not yet done, but this contest will live long in the memory.

With the exception of one horrendous line-out throw from Jamie George, which gifted Ardie Savea a second-half try, England barely put a foot wrong against the two-time defending world champions, who had not lost in 18 World Cup matches dating back to a 2007 quarter-final against France.

And you can forget Jones' pre-match comments suggesting his side were under no pressure. That is simply not possible in games of this magnitude.

England never play without expectation in any case and, while New Zealand were clearly the favourites, Jones will have known his players had to come up with a display befitting of such a huge occasion. It is to their immense credit that they served up just about the most complete 80 minutes imaginable.

The build-up to the game had been intense and it certainly felt like something special was in prospect as England faced down their opponents' Haka, Owen Farrell smiling as they did so.

"We wanted to not just stand there and let them come at us," said Farrell in a post-match news conference. "We wanted to keep a respectful distance and be respectful to that but we didn't want to just stand in a flat line letting them come at us."

In the only previous knockout clash between these sides at a World Cup, back in 1995, Jonah Lomu had laid waste to the men in white, scoring four tries in the most iconic individual display in the tournament's history.

Yet on this occasion, it was England's pace and power that proved decisive, the likes of Maro Itoje, Sam Underhill and Tom Curry particularly outstanding as Jones' men dominated at the breakdown for a second match in succession.

In England's quarter-final trouncing of Australia, Curry and Underhill comprehensively outplayed the celebrated back-row pairing of David Pocock and Michael Hooper.

Player of the Match Itoje and Courtney Lawes were able to win a similarly key battle on Saturday as they got the better of fellow locks Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, a man who had never lost a World Cup game until now.

England's forwards were not the only heroes, though. George Ford - seemingly the calmest man on the field - excelled at fly-half having been restored to the starting line-up and successfully took over kicking duties after a first-half knock for Farrell, while Anthony Watson shone on the right wing.

"We just couldn't get into the game," said All Blacks skipper Kieran Read. Not only were New Zealand beaten, they could have absolutely no complaints about the result.

Earlier this week, Jones outlined how special it would be to beat Steve Hansen's men, stating: "When you've been involved in rugby the country you want to knock off is New Zealand, because they've been the best. And the reason you're involved in this game is you want to be the best."

One more win and England can claim to be just that. Either way, this was a performance that will go down in history as one of their very best.

A dejected Kieran Read said New Zealand could have no complaints after their Rugby World Cup dominance ended with a 19-7 semi-final defeat to England.

England dethroned the All Blacks and replaced them at the top of the rankings with a dominant performance at Yokohama on Saturday, setting up a final against South Africa or Wales.

An early try from Manu Tuilagi, converted by Owen Farrell, and four George Ford penalties ended New Zealand's quest to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for an unprecedented third time in a row.

The defending champions had to wait until 17 minutes into the second half for a gift to Ardie Savea to get on the scoreboard, as they suffered a first World Cup defeat for 12 years.

Sam Underhill and Ben Youngs had tries ruled out in a relentless showing from Eddie Jones' side and captain Read - who will end his Test career with a third-place play-off on Friday - knows New Zealand were not good enough.

"It's pretty hard to put into words what it means. You've got to give England the credit, they came out and started really well and we just couldn't get into the game," said the back-rower.

"We'll look at the game and there'll be so many what ifs and things we could have done a lot better. At a stage like this you can't afford that and it cost us."

Farrell felt a blistering start was key after England had faced down the Haka by forming a V.

"It's a big game. A World Cup semi-final against the All Blacks, this is as big of a game as you can get at this stage, we thought like we'd prepared for the game well and it was all about starting the game well," said the England skipper.

"All these big games, teams get physical, they go at each other from the off. We knew that was going to come our way and we wanted to make sure we could play our game too.

"We've got a number of ways of playing. We've got a big, powerful pack but they can use the ball as well, we want to play to space and we did that well. It's brilliant to get there, brilliant to be a part of and we'll enjoy this win first then make sure we prepare well."

England coach Eddie Jones has hailed his side's defence as their best form of attack after a 19-7 victory over New Zealand ensured their place in the Rugby World Cup final.

Manu Tuilagi's early try paved the way for an exceptional display from England in Yokohama on Saturday, as they ended the All Blacks' chances of winning an unprecedented third World Cup in a row.

Captain Owen Farrell added the extras to Tuilagi's score, with George Ford putting England 10-0 up at half-time and, although New Zealand rallied through Ardie Savea's try, Ford's pinpoint kicking ensured victory.

England will now face either Wales or South Africa in their first World Cup final appearance since 2007 and Jones singled out his side's defensive grit as the key factor in their triumph.

"We're playing a great team, Steve Hansen, a great coach, Kieran Reed's a great captain. We had to dig deep," Jones said.

"We knew we'd have to come off the line and we managed to do that. We caused a few errors, may have had a few lucky bounces and got the result.

"The World Cup is always about defence and our best form of attack is our defence. We create opportunities through our defence to attack.

"Greatest compliments to New Zealand, they've won two World Cups in a row, they're a great team and we really had to dig deep to beat them."

Jones also highlighted the work of his assistants Steve Borthwick and Neal Hatley after England's pack put in a disciplined display.

"If you try to play New Zealand at their game you're going to come off second best," Jones, who is unconcerned by any "favourites" tag ahead of the final, told ITV Sport.

"We probably missed a couple of opportunities to score but I thought the discipline of our performance was great in both attack and defence.

"[The pack] played really well. Steve and Neal do a fantastic job with those forwards, really disciplined.

"We don't bet, we don't look at the bookies, so we're not really concerned [about favourites]. Our expectation is the most important thing."

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen, meanwhile, conceded England were worthy winners, although he insisted the defeat takes nothing away from his side's achievements.

"I'd like to congratulate England, they played a tremendous game of footy and, on the day, they deserved to win the game," he said.

"You can't give them half a step because they'll take it and that's what rugby is about. Well done to them.

"I'm really proud of our team, they've done tremendous graft for our country and we just weren't good enough. We have to take it on the chin, so does everybody back home and our fans."

Manu Tuilagi's early try set the tone as England shattered New Zealand's hopes of winning an unprecedented third consecutive Rugby World Cup and moved into the final with a famous 19-7 victory.

England dominated the out-of-sorts All Blacks at International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday to set up a showdown with South Africa or Wales at the same venue next weekend.

Tuilagi touched down for a try that Owen Farrell converted inside two minutes and George Ford's penalty just before the break put Eddie Jones' inspired side 10-0 up at half-time.

The defending champions never really got going in an error-strewn display and although Ardie Savea's try gave them hope, another three penalties from the excellent Ford kept England in command.

England – who also had tries from Sam Underhill and Ben Youngs ruled out – were lively in attack and outstanding in defence, sealing a first win over New Zealand for seven years and a maiden World Cup triumph over the holders to replace them at the top of the rankings.

New Zealand's first World Cup loss since 2007 ensured there will be no dream swansong for head coach Steve Hansen, while captain Kieran Read will end his stellar Test career with a third-place play-off.

Ian Foster says set-pieces are "where the war's going to be won or lost" when New Zealand and England lock horns in the first Rugby World Cup semi-final on Saturday.

The All Blacks and Eddie Jones' side do battle at International Stadium Yokohama for the right to play South Africa or Wales in the final.

Steve Hansen sprung a surprise by picking Scott Barrett ahead of Sam Cane at blindside flanker in what would appear to be an effort to target the England lineout.

New Zealand assistant coach Foster said the team that gain the edge in lineouts and scrums will have a great chance of progressing.

"The quality of your set-piece is key. And rugby hasn't changed over all the years, with all the different things that have happened to it," said Foster.

"There's a simplicity about it. If you scrum well and line-out well, you've got a good chance."

He added: "It's a tactical battle in itself. That's where the war's going to be won or lost."

Prop Joe Moody is relishing a titanic tussle with a powerful England pack.

"There is a big English forward pack. We know they are going to be pretty direct... we're going to have to be up for it to match fire with fire," he said.

"Should be a big old ding-dong battle."

England have confirmed the schedule for their two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in March.

The first Test will begin on March 19 in Galle, with the second match slated to commence eight days later in Colombo.

Those contests will form part of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.

A three-day warm-up game against a Sri Lanka Cricket Board President's XI in Katunayake will kick the tour off for Joe Root's men on March 7, with another four-day match taking place in Colombo from March 12.

England completed a 3-0 series whitewash on their previous Test tour of Sri Lanka in November 2018.

England sit fifth in the World Test Championship table after the drawn Ashes series against Australia, while Sri Lanka occupy third with four more points.

India are 180 points clear at the top after five victories out of five against West Indies and South Africa.

Courtney Lawes says New Zealand will know exactly who they are up against in the Rugby World Cup semi-final on Saturday after the England lock was mistakenly named as a politician by Brodie Retallick five years ago.

Retallick irked the England camp in 2014 when he replied "Michael Laws" after being asked if he could name any members of Stuart Lancaster's squad.

All Blacks lock Retallick was not impressed when he was reminded of that slip of the tongue this week as the world champions and England prepare to do battle in Yokohama for a place in the final.

England forward Lawes expects New Zealand to be more familiar with their opponents this weekend.

"If they don't know, then they will tomorrow, it's just one of those things mate!" Lawes said on Friday.

"We will just get on with it."

Lawes says Eddie Jones' men are relishing the challenge of trying to prevent the holders from becoming the first team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup three times in a row.

"We're excited," said Lawes. "None of us have played in a semi-final before, it's a challenge but we're very excited to get out there."

He added: "I like to take every game like it is, which is a rugby game, and go out there and enjoy.

"Obviously it's a massive occasion and we want to win, we have to win. But I like to go out there and treat every game like it's your last game."

England and New Zealand face off in a mouth-watering Rugby World Cup semi-final as Eddie Jones' men look to somehow topple the two-time defending champions. 

The All Blacks are aiming to become the first side to win three successive World Cups, but England represent a huge obstacle in their road to history.

For England to defy the odds and reach the final for the first time since 2007, they will need to end a New Zealand winning streak stretching back to that tournament 12 years ago.

Here we take a statistical look at Saturday's mammoth last-four clash in Yokohama.

15 - New Zealand have won 15 of their last 16 matches against England - the exception in that run being a 21-38 defeat at Twickenham in 2012, a game in which Manu Tuilagi and Kieran Read both scored tries.

4 - This will be the fourth Rugby World Cup clash between England and New Zealand. The All Blacks have won each of the previous three (1991, 1995, 1999), including their only knockout encounter which came in the semi-finals of the 1995 tournament in South Africa.

3 - England have won three of their previous four World Cup semi-final matches - the 29-45 loss to New Zealand in 1995 is the exception.

18 - New Zealand have won their past 18 World Cup matches, the longest such run in the tournament's history, last losing a game in the quarter-finals of the 2007 edition against France. Sam Whitelock has played in all 18 of those games and as such holds the individual record for most consecutive wins in World Cup history.

30 - The All Blacks have averaged the most points (51), tries (7.3), metres (642), clean breaks (22), defenders beaten (39) and offloads (17) of any side at the 2019 World Cup. They are also one of four sides yet to lose a scrum on their own feed (30/30).

- Neither England nor New Zealand have conceded a first half try in this tournament so far, the only sides to manage this; both have conceded three tries in the second half.

13 - Owen Farrell (87) needs 13 points to become the second player to reach 100 World Cup points for England after Jonny Wilkinson (277). He has managed that haul in four of his past five starts for England and averages 11.4 points per game in eight previous appearances against New Zealand (including with the British and Irish Lions).

1 - Jonny May needs one try to equal Jason Robinson on 28 tries for England, the joint fifth most for the country. It will be May's 51st match; Robinson won 51 caps for England.

- Maro Itoje has won more turnovers (seven) than any other player at the 2019 World Cup. Ardie Savea (five) is New Zealand's leading exponent in this facet of the game and has indeed won the joint most jackal turnovers of any player (five).

New Zealand will be without captain Kane Williamson for the upcoming Twenty20 series against England due to a right hip injury.

The Black Caps named their squad Friday with skipper Williamson a notable absentee following his withdrawal for the five T20s in New Zealand.

Williamson featured for Northern Districts in the Plunket Shield on Thursday, but a period of rest was agreed for the star batsman – who sits out the reunion with England after his team's heartbreaking super-over defeat in the Cricket World Cup final.

Tim Southee will captain the Black Caps when the series gets underway at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on November 1.

"We've been monitoring the injury for a while now and it's the same issue that ruled him out of the final Test against Bangladesh back in March," said New Zealand head coach Gary Stead.

"It's disappointing timing for Kane at the start of an exciting Kiwi summer, but we feel it's the right decision with a busy season ahead.

"We're fortunate to have someone experienced like Tim who can comfortably step in and take the reins, as he successfully did on the recent tour of Sri Lanka."

Paceman Lockie Ferguson will play in the first three games after returning from a broken thumb, while Trent Boult will take his place for the remaining two fixtures.

"In working with Trent and looking at the season ahead, we feel another four-day game will provide him with the best preparation for the upcoming Test series against England and Australia," added Stead.

After facing England in Christchurch, the series will move to Wellington (November 3), Nelson (November 5), Napier (November 8) and Auckland (November 10) before the first of two Test matches, starting November 21.

 

New Zealand's T20 squad: Tim Southee (c), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner

Steve Hansen wants to ensure New Zealand do not repeat past mistakes by getting caught up in the "euphoria" of a quarter-final triumph when they battle England for a place in the Rugby World Cup showpiece.

Two-time defending champions the All Blacks are the favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup once again but must overcome Eddie Jones' side in Yokohama on Saturday to keep their hopes of doing so alive.

New Zealand produced a commanding display to brush aside Ireland, who started the tournament in Japan as the top-ranked side in the world, 46-14 in the last eight.

But Hansen warned against looking beyond a blockbuster semi-final with England, something he feels they have been guilty of in the past.

"Sometimes I think people come off the euphoria of winning the quarter-final, and then they start looking ahead at the final," said Hansen.

"I think that could have been a mistake that we've made in the past. I think we may have even done it in 2007, looking beyond the quarter-final. And when you start looking beyond where you're actually at, then your mind's not where your feet are, and you're vulnerable.

"I think that's probably why they would say it's tough, because you've just come off the euphoria of winning the quarter-final knowing you now have an opportunity, and then you may start looking at that opportunity before you've actually earned the right to look at it."

Jones on Thursday moved away from his apparent attempts at kidology earlier this week, having claimed someone had spied on England training without accusing the All Blacks, of whom he said "the pressure will be chasing them down the street".

England have lost each of their past six Tests against New Zealand and the head coach is relishing the chance to put that right.

"It's going to be a great contest, isn't it? Two heavyweights, one dressed in black, one dressed in white. You couldn't think of a better scenario," said Jones.

"I think it's a great week, it's one of the most exciting weeks in world rugby.

"You get a press conference [with this many people] usually only when you've done something bad.

"We haven't done anything bad yet, so it's an exceptional week for us."

Kieran Read and Jonny May overcame injury concerns to feature in the starting XV for New Zealand and England respectively.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

England - George Ford

Having been dropped to the bench for the quarter-final success over Australia, Ford will want to prove himself after returning to the starting XV as the only change. Jones highlighted the fly-half's impressive work-rate and he will want to deliver on that after replacing captain Owen Farrell, who will start at outside centre, in the number 10 shirt.

New Zealand - Scott Barrett

Hansen too only made one alteration to his line-up, with lock Barrett replacing Sam Cane in the back row. Barrett has never started an All Blacks game at flanker so it will be interesting to see if the coach's tactical decision pays dividends.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be the fourth World Cup clash between England and New Zealand. The All Blacks have won each of the previous three (1991, 1995, 1999) including their only knockout encounter, which came in the semi-finals of the 1995 tournament in South Africa.
- England had just 10 minutes and 34 seconds of possession in their quarter-final victory against Australia, their lowest amount in a game since Opta have recorded this data (2010).
- The All Blacks have averaged the most points (51), tries (7.3), metres (642), clean breaks (22), defenders beaten (39) and offloads (17) of any side at this World Cup.
- Billy Vunipola is in line to win his 50th cap for England. New Zealand are the one side he has yet to beat in an England shirt (L4), notching up victories against each of the other 11 nations he has faced.

Eddie Jones does not think anyone outside the England camp believes they can beat New Zealand in a blockbuster Rugby World Cup semi-final on Saturday.

New Zealand go into the clash in Yokohama two victories away from lifting the Webb Ellis Cup for the third time in succession, but Jones is happy to be the underdog.

The Australian said this week "the pressure will be chasing [the All Blacks] down the street", while his team could play without the burden of expectation.

Although Jones admitted to a degree of anxiety about the clash, he hopes to help his team thrive against the favourites for success in Japan.

"There's always nerves - you're only human - but there's that mixture between being nervous and excited which is the reason you coach," Jones told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"To be involved in a game like this is the most fantastic experience as a coach, and it's what you live for.

"Out of one hundred journalists in the room, as we saw, 97 think New Zealand are going to win.

"The three who put up their hands put them up timidly and hoped no one saw them put up their hands.

"Our 31 players plus 20-odd staff believe we can win, and we're the only people in Japan who believe we can win. We'll take that situation and maximise it."

Jones' men have lost their past six matches against New Zealand but 11 players in the squad for Saturday's match have experience of beating the All Blacks, either in England's 38-21 victory in December 2012 or the British and Irish Lions' second Test success in 2017.

The England boss believes that will hold the team in good stead as they look to cause an upset.

"I think traditionally when you play against New Zealand, the pace and intensity of the game gets you," said Jones.

"If you have experienced that before, you understand what you have got to prepare yourself for, and most of our squad have been involved in those games so we've got great experience.

"They know what New Zealand are going to bring to the game and they have practised this week to be equipped for it.

"We are ready for the game, we've had two-and-a-half years to prepare for this game so we are ready to go."

George Ford will return at fly-half in the only change for England, while Steve Hansen's sole alteration for the All Blacks sees Scott Barrett replace Sam Cane.

Eddie Jones' suggestion that England were spied on ahead of the Rugby World Cup semi-finals was branded "the best clickbait in the world" by New Zealand boss Steve Hansen.

Australian Jones this week said England were aware of someone filming from an apartment near their training base in Chiba, though he did not accuse last-four opponents the All Blacks directly.

Hansen, who named made one change to his line-up for Saturday's match in Yokohama by replacing Sam Cane with Scott Barrett, was unsurprised by the media's reaction.

"Eddie and I both know that all is fair in love and war and there is nothing better in war than throwing a wee distraction out that you guys [the media] can't resist," said Hansen.

"It's the best clickbait in the world: 'Someone's spying on us.' He didn't call at us. He was very deliberate in not doing that.

"He talked about it being somebody else. It was probably the same bloke who videoed us when we were there, but everyone has jumped on it and he's been successful in getting the clickbait.

"He was very particular about what he said, that someone had filmed their training. He said it could have been a supporter. He didn't say New Zealand did it."

Hansen bears Jones no ill will over the comments and revealed the two have since been in touch.

"It's only a mind game if you buy into it. We're not buying into it," said Hansen. "It's allowed us to have a good laugh. I'm chuckling away.

"He’s been in touch with me, but not about spying. I get a text, 'How are you going, Steve?'. 'Pretty good, thanks Eddie.' He's laughing, I'm laughing. You guys are getting what you want because everyone is clicking on the bait."

Jones also claimed that while England can play with freedom in the semi-finals, "the pressure will be chasing [New Zealand] down the street" as they attempt to win the World Cup for a third time in succession.

Hansen replied: "I have talked about pressure since I have been All Blacks coach. Early in our history we probably ran away from it and ... let it chase us down the street.

"These days we acknowledge it's there. We get it every game ... doesn't matter if it's a quarter-final, semi-final or a Test match.

"It would be very naive not to acknowledge [the pressure] to be on both sides."

Lockie Ferguson will make a timely return from injury for a New Zealand XI in two Twenty20 warm-up matches against England.

The paceman has been out of action since suffering a fractured thumb training in Sri Lanka last month.

Ferguson is now fully fit and will face Eoin Morgan's side in a team captained by Colin Munro at Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln on Sunday and next Tuesday.

He said: "The thumb has healed well and I'm looking forward to having a hit-out at Lincoln.

"While it's obviously frustrating to be sidelined, it's actually been good to take some time to freshen up and be able to return with plenty of motivation and energy.

"It's the beginning of a really big summer of cricket and it's exciting to be starting it against a quality England side."

A five-match T20 series between the Black Caps and England starts in Christchurch on November 1.

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