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All Blacks named to face England

allblacks.com     14 Nov 2013    

The starting XV in the second Test of the Air New Zealand European Tour features just one change from the team that played France last weekend, with wing Julian Savea coming back into the side after his illness, replacing Cory Jane. Meanwhile, in the reserves, there is just the one change, in the forwards, with lock Luke Romano coming in as lock cover, replacing Sam Cane.

The team mixes huge experience with relative youth, with 959 caps in the 23, which has an average age in the mid twenties.
The team is (Test caps in brackets):

Starting XV:

1. Tony Woodcock (106)
2. Keven Mealamu (109)
3. Owen Franks (52)
4. Brodie Retallick (22)
5. Samuel Whitelock (49)
6. Liam Messam (27)
7. Richie McCaw - captain (122)
8. Kieran Read (59)
9. Aaron Smith (24)
10. Daniel Carter (99)
11. Julian Savea (18)
12. Ma'a Nonu (86)
13. Ben Smith (24)
14. Charles Piutau (9)
15. Israel Dagg (36)

Reserves:
16. Dane Coles (13)
17. Wyatt Crockett (22)
18. Charlie Faumuina (15)
19. Luke Romano (15)
20. Steven Luatua (9)
21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (13)
22. Aaron Cruden (27)
23. Ryan Crotty (3)

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: "This is a Test match we are very much looking forward to. We were completely outplayed by them last year but this is an opportunity for us to see if we have improved our game to the point where we can be competitive. The players are excited because this is what Test rugby is all about."

"We are expecting a really physical game with huge intensity, but also a game that will have high levels of energy, pace and skills.

"We know the England coaching staff have done a lot of homework so this may be a game where we add a few new things they haven't seen before."

Interesting facts

* This Saturday will be a special day for two All Blacks who will reach memorable milestones - first five-eighth Daniel Carter is playing his 100th Test match, while lock Samuel Whitelock will play his 50th.

* The All Blacks will field the most capped All Blacks players of all time in five positions: Richie McCaw (openside flanker, 122 Tests), Keven Mealamu (hooker, 109), Tony Woodcock (prop, 106), Daniel Carter (first five-eighth, 99) and Ma'a Nonu (second five-eighth, 86)

* When he dotted down last week against France, Kieran Read equalled fellow All Blacks No 8 Zinzan Brooke's world record of 14 tries from the No 8 position.

* The All Blacks have played England 35 times since 1905 with 27 wins to the All Blacks, seven losses and one draw. The teams last played in London on last year's Air New Zealand European Tour with England prevailing 38-21 on that occasion.