Experienced All Blacks Named For England Test

The All Blacks team to play England this weekend in the second Test of the Northern Tour has been named, with the New Zealand selectors picking an extremely experienced team for Saturday’s Hillary Shield Test in London.  The Kiwis play the English at Twickenham this Saturday, kicking off at 14:30 GMT.  As expected, the All Blacks selectors have made a number of changes after giving less experienced squad members an opportunity against the United States, with 13 of the squad from that match day 23 boosted by the return of some experienced players.

The match day squad that takes the field against the Roses has 1 029 Test caps between them and an average age of 27 years.  Number eight Kieran Read, first five-eighth Aaron Cruden, second five-eighth Sonny Bill Williams and fullback Israel Dagg retain their starting spots from the USA Test, while two reserves, lock Brodie Retallick and winger Julian Savea, are back in the starting XV.  Prop Wyatt Crockett joins fellow prop Owen Franks and hooker Dane Coles in the front row; lock Samuel Whitelock is reunited with Retallick in the second row, while New Zealand captain Richie McCaw and number six Jerome Kaino are alongside Read in the back row.

Halfback Aaron Smith makes his 11th start of the year inside Cruden, while the All Blacks’ most capped centre, Conrad Smith, will partner Williams in the midfield.  Joining Savea and Dagg in the back three is Ben Smith.  The forward reserves are hooker Keven Mealamu, props Ben Franks and Charlie Faumuina, lock Patrick Tuipulotu and loose forward Liam Messam, while the back reserves are halfback TJ Perenara, first five-eighth Beauden Barrett and midfielder Ryan Crotty.  Head Coach Steve Hansen said, “This Test match is a great opportunity to once again experience the atmosphere of Twickenham and to lay down a marker of where we are currently at in relation to our opponents, England.  We are extremely excited about this challenge and looking forward to it immensely.  Having played England already three times this year, at the beginning of our season, and again having the opportunity to play them at the end of season, will tell us a lot about how much our game has progressed.”

The All Blacks will also run out onto Twickenham in their new all-black All Blacks kit which was unveiled in London Wednesday. The teams will again be playing for the Hillary Shield which honours the late, great Sir Edmund Hillary.

The team is:

Starting XV:

1. Wyatt Crockett (33)
2. Dane Coles (24)
3. Owen Franks (65)
4. Brodie Retallick (34)
5. Samuel Whitelock (60)
6. Jerome Kaino (54)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (134)
8. Kieran Read (70)
9. Aaron Smith (36)
10. Aaron Cruden (36)
11. Julian Savea (30)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (20)
13. Conrad Smith (83)
14. Ben Smith (35)
15. Israel Dagg (45)

Reserves:

16. Keven Mealamu (121)
17. Ben Franks (39)
18. Charlie Faumuina (24)
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (5)
20. Liam Messam (37)
21. TJ Perenara (8)
22. Beauden Barrett (26)
23. Ryan Crotty (10)