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Billy Twelvetrees to miss first Test
Tom Hamilton in Auckland
June 3, 2014
Gloucester's Billy Twelvetrees is carried off , Gloucester v London Irish, Aviva Premiership,  Kingsholm Stadium, May 3, 2014
Billy Twelvetrees hobbles off on May 3 ... he is still not fit © Getty Images

England centre Billy Twelvetrees appears to have lost his race to be fit for Saturday's first Test against New Zealand at Eden Park. He missed training again on Tuesday in the final practice session before head coach Stuart Lancaster names his team.

Twelvetrees sustained an ankle injury at the start of Mayand was always a doubt for the opening Test. Bath's Kyle Eastmond is likely to take his place at inside centre, winning his third cap despite being short of match fitness himself. He has not played since April 27 after falling out of favour at the Recreation Ground in the aftermath of the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final win against Wasps.

It means England will face the All Blacks with their fourth-choice inside centre and fly-half. Freddie Burns is set to fill the No.10 in the absence of Premiership finalists Owen Farrell and Stephen Myler and the injured George Ford.

The All Blacks have suffered a setback of their own ahead of the first Test with Kieran Read ruled out with concussion. New Zealand are also sweating on the fitness of Julian Savea who is struggling with a knee injury and will need a scan on Thursday.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.

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