New Zealand team to play England

logoSteve Hansen has named his New Zealand team to take on England this Saturday. He has largely kept the faith with the players who won in France last weekend, the sole change seeing wing Julian Savea replacing Cory Jane, who drops out of the squad all together.

Dan Carter is named at fly-half and will win his 100th test cap, while Sam Whitelock is in line to win his 50th. On the bench there is one change, with lock Luke Romano coming in for flanker Sam Cane.

“This is a Test match we are very much looking forward to,” said Hansen. “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.”

New Zealand team to play England:
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Charles Piutau, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ryan Crotty.

8 thoughts on “New Zealand team to play England

  1. No Cory Jane or Conrad Smith and it doesn’t seem to weaken the back-line!

    I must say I prefer Beauden Barrett to Aaron Cruden at 10. So there, imho, is a weakness!

    Seriously, I think Dane Coles is a decent player, but i’m not so sure about any of their props, apart from Franks.

  2. “…this is an opportunity for us to see if we have improved our game to the point where we can be competitive.”

    Accompanied by a wry smile I would imagine.

    1. Tongue firmly in cheek for that one, yeah. ‘I think we’ve improved, so hopefully we can at least give the “mighty” England a game.’

      The “this may be a game where we add a few new things they haven’t seen before” line is far more concerning…

  3. We know we’ve got a mountain to climb!! Let’s hope that we can give them a game. Despite the fact that I love watching the ABs play rugby, I am hoping for monsoon type conditions, but I don’t think that is going to happen!

  4. Weather for Twickenham on Saturday – partly sunny, about 7 degrees. No monsoon :(

    Not many weaknesses in that team.

    In the backs perhaps Ben Smith at centre could be tested (although I’m sure he’ll be fine) and Piutau hasn’t got a lot of experience at this level (although he looked ominously good against the French). Think Nonu can be exposed in defence sometimes (too keen to lead with the shoulder), but not often

    in the forwards, the front row is the only possible weak spot. The French gave them some trouble there

    1. Yep if we had Tuilagi, I would have said Ben Smith at centre was the one possible weak point in the defensive line (though brilliant in attack hasnt had as much time to adjust to the defensive positioning as he’s been playing all over the field this season, especially compared to snake-hips), but Tomkins will not really challenge him. Maybe a clever line by a winger off him could cause some issues? Used to be Ashton and Foden’s forte. Otherwise no idea how we will score in the backs.

      I agree- just try and boss them upfront. Though no corbs? Marler, whilst good, is not gonna worry them.


      1. Well, I don’t think we were ever going to destroy them in the scrum, even with Corbs fit. Marler’s scrummaging seems to be coming on nicely though and he’ll have Hartley as well, so not too worried about the scrum. Although if Marler gets injured, it ‘ll be a nervous moment for Mullan!

        Its all about the breakdown. The forwards need to target it and not just try to slow down the AB ball but aggressively counter-ruck, disrupt and try to turn the ball over and of course, hit our rucks hard, in numbers and drive past the ball to stop McCaw et al attacking the ball. This is what they did so well last year and it shocked the ABs

  5. Regarding Ben Smith, one of his strengths is that he appears nondescript compared to some of those around him. One NZ journalist recently described him as looking like Mr Everyman, “the harmless white guy who lives next door”. However he has the knack of being at the right place at the right time with speed to burn.

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