London – All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named his team for Saturday’s Test against England at Twickenham.
Hansen brought back several of his frontline stars who sat out the 69-31 win over Japan in Tokyo last week.
Up front, Karl Tu’inukuafe starts at loosehead prop, replacing the injured Joe Moody, alongside Codie Taylor and Owen Franks. Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Nepo Laulala, together with hooker Dane Coles, will provide front row support from the bench.
Locks Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock are in the second row, with Retallick back in the starting line-up for the first time in two months.
Liam Squire, Ardie Savea and captain Kieran Read make up the loose forward trio, while Scott Barrett and Matt Todd are lock and loose forward cover.
In the backline, scrumhalf Aaron Smith and flyhalf Beauden Barrett will start, with the paring of TJ Perenara and Richie Mo’unga to bring impact from the bench, Jack Goodhue returns from illness and is named at centre, inside Sonny Bill Williams, while the outside back trio is unchanged from the Tokyo Test against Australia, with Rieko Ioane in the No 11 jersey, Ben Smith at No 14 and Damian McKenzie at fullback. Ryan Crotty provides extra back cover in the run-on reserves.
Hansen told the All Blacks’ official website that 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.”
Kick-off is at 17:00 (SA time) on Saturday.
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Ryan Crotty