New Zealand team to face England at Twickenham

Graham Henry named the All Blacks side this morning to take on England at Twickenham this weekend.

The headline news is that Sonny Bill Williams is selected at centre to form a powerful centre combination with Ma’a Nonu. There has been so much coverage of the 6′ 4″, 17-stone rugby league convert, but his selection over Conrad Smith was something of a surprise.

In my view, it’s a hugely defensive move by Henry, clearly concerned about how best to counter the England midfield threats of Shontayne Hape and Mike Tindall.

Here’s the team:

New Zealand:
Mils Muliaina; Joe Rokocoko, Sonny Bill Williams, Ma’a Nonu, Hosea Gear; Dan Carter, Alby Mathewson; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt), Jerome Kaino; Sam Whitelock, Brad Thorn; Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock.

Replacements: Hika Elliot, Ben Franks, Anthony Boric, Liam Messam, Andy Ellis, Stephen Donald, Isaia Toeava.