QBE international: England prop Alex Corbisiero out of New Zealand clash with knee injury
Last Updated: 12/11/13 7:50pm
Alex Corbisiero: discomfort in knee after training session on Tuesday
England's Alex Corbisiero, Marland Yarde and Christian Wade have been ruled out of Saturday's QBE international against New Zealand through injury.
Corbisiero's absence is a particular blow for England - Joe Marler is a slight doubt for Saturday and Mako Vunipola has already been ruled out of the Twickenham showdown.
If Harlequins' star Marler does not recover England will be down to their fourth choice loosehead and Wasps' Matt Mullan will win just his second cap against the mighty All Blacks.
Corbisiero, a hero of the British & Irish Lions series victory in Australia, faced a make-or-break training session on Tuesday afternoon and it was decided his problematic knee would not be ready in time for Saturday.
He missed the opening November international with Australia but did take part in the second-half against Argentina last weekend.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "Alex took part in Tuesday morning's forwards training session but suffered some discomfort to his knee.
"He did not train on Tuesday afternoon and will not be available for selection for the weekend.
"It's disappointing for Alex having missed last year's Six Nations because of an injury to his other knee.
"With Mako also unavailable, it's a great opportunity for Joe Marler and Matt Mullan, who has been with us all week and is raring to go in the 23."
Marler was concussed in the 31-12 victory over the Pumas but England doctor Phil Batty is hopeful he will recover in time: "Joe Marler has had no symptoms of concussion since Saturday," he said.
England coach Stuart Lancaster is happy with the transition his players have made from club to international level during the first two Autumn Tests.
"He has passed all his cognitive function (CogSport) tests and balance assessments and completed a skills session on Tuesday without any problems."
Yarde has failed to shake off a hip problem and Wade is ruled out by a tight hamstring so Chris Ashton - who has failed to shine so far this autumn - will win a reprieve on the right wing, continuing in what will be an unchanged backline.
"Marland Yarde and Christian Wade have not recovered in time to be available for this game," Lancaster said.
"We've had a good start to the week and now it's a case of tapering down the training and getting ourselves ready for the ultimate challenge.
"The Twickenham crowd has been great over the last two weeks and we know they will be just as vocal as they were against New Zealand last year."
Lancaster trimmed his squad to 23 players on Tuesday night with tighthead prop, where Dan Cole and David Wilson are competing, the only likely change to the starting XV.
England 23-man squad v New Zealand:
Forwards: D Cole (Leicester), D Hartley (Northampton), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), J Marler (Harlequins), B Morgan (Gloucester), M Mullan (Wasps), G Parling (Leicester), C Robshaw (Harlequins), B Vunipola (Saracens), D Wilson (Bath), T Wood (Northampton), T Youngs (Leicester).
Backs: C Ashton (Saracens), M Brown (Harlequins), L Dickson (Northampton), O Farrell (Saracens), T Flood (Leicester), B Foden (Northampton), A Goode (Saracens), J Tomkins (Saracens), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester), B Youngs (Leicester).
Watch England take on the All Blacks on Sky Sports 1 on Saturday, with coverage beginning at 1.30pm.