England v New Zealand: Hosts hopeful Dave Attwood will play

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live
England lock Dave Attwood
Bath lock Dave Attwood is expected to step into the slot left open by a neck injury to Wasps' Joe Launchbury
Autumn international: England v New Zealand
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 8 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, online, mobile and the BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website. Highlights on BBC Three at 19:00 on Saturday.

England hope lock Dave Attwood will be available to face New Zealand after his fiancee gave birth on Tuesday.

Attwood, 27, missed Tuesday afternoon's training session after leaving at lunch to be with his partner, but is set to return to camp later in the week.

"It will be fine," England forwards coach Graham Rowntree told BBC Radio 5 live.

"We'll play it day by day, but I'm expecting Dave to be back in on Thursday, able to train a happy man."

Twelve players were released back to their clubs as a match squad of 23 was announced on Tuesday, but Bath's Fijian-born winger Semesa Rokoduguni was retained and is in line to start on Saturday.

Attwood has won the bulk of his 12 England caps as a replacement, but Rowntree says the 6ft 7in, 18st 8lb lock deserves the opportunity to start against the world champions at Twickenham on Saturday.

"We will announce the team on Thursday, but he will be heavily involved," Rowntree added. "He's playing well, he deserves it. I think his game has developed nicely over the season."

Owen Farrell prepares to catch a pass in England training
Fly-half Owen Farrell says he feels good after an injury lay-off

With second rows Joe Launchbury, Geoff Parling and Ed Slater all unavailable because of injury, the uncapped George Kruis is on standby to line up alongside Courtney Lawes in the starting XV should Attwood not be available.

Rowntree said Saracens second row Kruis, 24, has "exceeded my expectations".

"He's been very good around the group, very confident," Rowntree added. "He's picked up things very quickly, so I'm delighted with George.

"I wouldn't bat an eyelid about him starting."

Despite England's injury problems in the forwards, Rowntree is confident he has a pack to hurt the All Blacks at Twickenham.

"We play the world champions, at Twickenham, with a full house. What better an occasion for these guys to show us what they've got," said the former England prop.

"We'll be hard to beat, I can tell you that now."

Meanwhile, fly-half Owen Farrell says he feels "fine", despite his lack of game-time recently. The 23-year-old has only started one match for his club Saracens since returning from a leg injury.

"I feel good, and am excited to get back into the swing of things," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I've felt like I've been fit for a while now. I don't think I've felt rusty."

England squad to face New Zealand

Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby)

Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons)

Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)

George Kruis (Saracens)

Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)

Joe Marler (Harlequins)

Matt Mullan (Wasps)

David Wilson (Bath Rugby)

Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)

Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Rob Webber (Bath Rugby)

Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)

Brad Barritt (Saracens)

Mike Brown (Harlequins)

Danny Care (Harlequins)

Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)

Owen Farrell (Saracens)

George Ford (Bath Rugby)

Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)

Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby)

Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Returning to their clubs:

Calum Clark (Northampton Saints)

Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)

Alex Goode (Saracens)

James Haskell (Wasps)

Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)

Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers)

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)

David Paice (London Irish)

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)

Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)

Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)

Marland Yarde (Harlequins)

England ready for New Zealand Test - Lancaster