The All Blacks have made three changes to their starting
team as they focus on making the last big push for the season
against a hugely physical England team that will come at them
down route one.
Daniel Carter returns to his beloved No 10 jersey in place of
Aaron Cruden, Keven Mealamu starts ahead of the suspended
Andrew Hore and Brodie Retallick's big engine is preferred to
the ball-carrying grunt of Luke Romano.
Mealamu, Carter and prop Tony Woodcock all need to get
through training on Thursday afternoon UK time to confirm
their places, but All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was confident
that would be the case.
"They got through training the other day and we are
comfortable to name them at this stage," said Hansen. "There
has been a consistency for most of the season, hasn't there?
We have looked to build the combinations and we have
continued to do that. If the guys are fit and available then
we have tried to pick them."
Hansen added of Retallick: "He has a couple of games off the
bench and he has got a big motor and goes all day long and we
just think that this game will suit him. It gives Luke an
opportunity to have a wee breather. Both of them are rookies
this year and have had a big year so this was an opportunity
to make some subtle change."
The All Blacks will need all the manpower they can muster as
England represent one of the great physical challenges in the
game. The English pack dominated the South Africans last week
- a pack the All Blacks struggled against for much of the
Dunedin Rugby Championship test.
The men in white will be brutal, relentless and fiercely
determined as while they won the collisions, they didn't win
the game, suffering their second consecutive loss to Southern
Those two disappointing performances and defeats saw England
come under siege from their media. England are hosting the
next World Cup and have the stated aim of winning it -
believing the build-up starts now and that it is imperative
to learn the art of beating the Southern Hemisphere sides.
Under pressure and with their backs against the wall, England
will most certainly come out snorting fire in the first half
"They are big men and they are probably one of the biggest
packs that we will come up against," said Hansen. "They will
bring a physical, combative game - there is no question about
where they are going to come.
"They will have one-off runners and two runners round the
corner so they are going to come straight at you. Outside of
the set-piece - we are going to have to make sure that we
dominate that area and then we are going to have to be
comfortable dominating tackles and then our own ball carrying
is going to have to be good. If you win those collisions then
you win the match."
All Blacks team to play England at Twickenham on Sunday,
kick-off 3.30am: Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a
Nonu, Julian Savea, Daniel Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read,
Richie McCaw, Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick,
Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Dane
Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano, Victor
Vito, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ben Smith.
- By Gregor Paul in London