New Zealand team to play England: Big guns return for All Blacks
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has made several changes to his starting line-up for their Test against England at Twickenham on Saturday.
After fielding an under-strength team in last weekend’s victory over Japan in Tokyo, Hansen has reverted to his first-choice squad and there are four alterations from his run-on side which beat Australia in Yokohama two weeks ago with front-row Karl Tu’inukuafe, lock Brodie Retallick, scrum-half Aaron Smith and centre Jack Goodhue coming in to replace Joe Moody, Scott Barrett, TJ Perenara and Ryan Crotty respectively.
In the forwards, Tu’inukuafe starts in the number one jersey, replacing the injured Moody, alongside Codie Taylor and Owen Franks. Ofa Tuungafasi and Nepo Laulala, together with hooker Dane Coles, will provide front-row support from the bench.
🎙️ TEAM NAMING | Introducing your All Blacks 23 to take on @EnglandRugby for the Hillary Shield at Twickenham this weekend.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) November 8, 2018
Retallick and Sam Whitelock are in the second-row, with Liam Squire, Ardie Savea and captain Kieran Read the loose forward trio. Scott Barrett and Matt Todd are lock and loose forward cover.
In the backs, Aaron Smith and fly-half Beauden Barrett will start, with the inside paring of TJ Perenara and Richie Mo’unga to bring impact from the bench, Goodhue returns from illness and is named at outside centre, inside Sonny Bill Williams, while the outside back trio is unchanged from the Test against Australia, with Rieko Ioane in the 11 jersey, Ben Smith in 14 and Damian McKenzie at full-back. Ryan Crotty provides extra back cover in the run-on reserves.
Hansen said there had been real excitement and energy in the All Blacks camp this week: “There’s huge anticipation at what lies ahead on Saturday and the team is certainly looking forward to the challenge of the weekend.
“Our week’s preparation has been very good. We’ve spent the early part of our week getting our preparation right and clarity of our roles and been building throughout the week so we’re ready to go on Saturday.
“We know we’ll be up against a very determined and well-coached English side. They’ll have gained a lot of confidence from their win over South Africa and be keen to make a statement in front of their passionate Twickenham home crowd.
“However, for us it’s about making our own statement. To do that, we’ll need to bring our own intensity and accuracy to an even higher level throughout the game. It’s a great opportunity to assess where our game is at and we’re really looking forward to it.”