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Kaino like 'caged animal' ahead of Test return

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Lynn McConnell     05 Jun 2014     Getty Images

Continuing concussion problems for incumbent No.8 and IRB Player of the Year last year Kieran Read, made the decision of the loose forward combination easier for the selectors but Kaino was always a good chance to play given his commanding form in Investec Super Rugby with the Blues.

Hansen said they had a chat before Kaino left for Japan and he had said he would come back, and so far as Hansen was concerned his timing was perfect.

"He's like a caged animal and pretty keen to get out there," he said.

Kaino said making the starting spot on his return was special and he knew he had big boots to fill.

"Coming back there was a lot of depth at flanker and my chances of making the team were pretty slim and I knew I had my work cut out to get a spot in the team," he said.

Wing Julian Savea was not considered due to a bruising injury inside his knee and was a week-to-week prospect for the side. His injury allowed Cory Jane to take his place which Hansen likened to a whippet replacing a beast on the wing.

"Julian will be missed by Cory brings his own style of game and he is not as big a guy but he has got some pretty special skills too," Hansen said.

It would improve the high-ball catching of the ability of the side because Jane was world-class in that area.

"There'll be subtle differences but what Cory will bring to the game will enhance us just as much as Julian does. We're very fortunate that we've got a world-class player to come and take his place," he said.

The choice of Aaron Cruden at first five-eighths came down to the fact he was the incumbent, he was a better starter than coming off the bench, he had the benefit of two games since his injury and he was ready to go.

"He's a good reader of the game, a good organiser and I believe he's really comfortable now in that role and we've got a lot of self-belief in him and think he'll do a great job," he said.

Cruden said he was excited about the opportunity he had been given. He was looking forward to being able to focus on his own role without the burden of captaincy he has had during Super Rugby.

Hansen repeated his mantra of respect for England and said they were a team confident with what they were doing and the fact they were keeping quiet and getting on with their work made them dangerous.

"They've improved their skills sets and they want to play rugby which again makes you more dangerous.

"I imagine they will look to drive us a lot in the lineouts, they'll look to come up the middle of the park and maybe use switches and see if we have got our short-side defence sorted out and maybe want to turn us around a bit too, if it is wet. We are expecting it to be a really good contest and are looking forward to it," he said.

It was a reality point that England could do some things in the game better than the All Blacks could.

"We need to make sure that we improve in those areas so we at least get onto similar ground to them. There are teams out there who are well and truly capable of beating us but it is just a case of us making sure we have done all the homework we need to do and we are well prepared," Hansen said.