CLASH OF THE TI­TANS

ALL BLACKS v ENG­LAND

The New Zealand Herald - - Front Page - Liam Napier in Lon­don

Joe Moody’s lac­er­ated eye­lid has forced the only se­lec­tion sur­prise to an oth­er­wise strong, full-strength All Blacks team. Noth­ing else would be ex­pected for a high pro­file test against Eng­land at Twick­en­ham.

In a freak train­ing in­ci­dent, Moody re­quired three lay­ers of stitches to his eye­lid and will be side­lined for six weeks after cop­ping a way­ward fin­ger dur­ing a rou­tine li­ne­out lift in Lon­don ear­lier this week.

The in­jury adds to a frus­trat­ing year in which Moody, the All Blacks’ first-choice loose­head prop now con­fined to wear­ing an eye patch, has missed the ma­jor­ity of the sea­son, play­ing six tests, after a cat­a­logue of in­juries for the Cru­saders and All Blacks.

“Joe Moody has found a way to get him­self in­jured in un­usual fash­ion this year,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said. “Any­one else it would prob­a­bly have missed his eye.

“The plas­tic sur­geon has rec­om­mended the six weeks and as our doc­tor de­scribed it your eye­lid is your win­dow washer so if you’ve got half of it miss­ing you can’t wipe your eye so it will im­pact your eye sight long term so we need to make sure he is okay.”

Moody’s mis­for­tune opens the door for the big-scrum­mag­ing Karl Tu’inukuafe to make his fifth start of the year, with Ofa Tu’un­gafasi pro­vid­ing cover from the bench.

An­gus Ta’avao’s abil­ity to play both sides of the scrum has re­sulted in his re­call over loose­head spe­cial­ist Tim Perry.

Tu’inukuafe, de­scribed as a di­a­mond, has been the find of the sea­son for the All Blacks. No doubt he will rel­ish the prospect of lock­ing horns with the English front-row. Else­where

the All Blacks have picked what they, for now, con­sider their strong­est team. That in­cludes the re­turn of Jack Good­hue, the Cru­saders cen­tre part­ner­ing Sonny Bill Wil­liams for only the se­cond time in the mid­field after last ap­pear­ing for the All Blacks seven weeks ago.

Blood tests cleared Good­hue of any lin­ger­ing glan­du­lar fever, an ill­ness which kept him out of the Bledis­loe Cup vic­tory in Yoko­hama two weeks ago. His re­turn pushes Cru­saders team­mate Ryan Crotty to the bench.

“Jack has trained the house down so you’ve got to trust the med­i­cal peo­ple,” Hansen said. “They say he’s ready to go so he’s ready to go.

“It’s a bit tough on Alby [An­ton Lienert-Brown] be­cause he’s been do­ing the job for us off the bench but we’ve got to find out if some­one else can do that job. Peo­ple say this is a big test but that’s the best time to find out.

“We’re blessed with some very good mid­field­ers at the mo­ment. It doesn’t mat­ter which one you play we’ve just got to work out what com­bi­na­tions re­ally gel well to­gether and what we can do with the bench.”

The back three — Rieko Ioane, Ben Smith and Damian McKen­zie — which the All Blacks felt had suc­cess against the Wal­la­bies last time out has also been re­tained.

This gives McKen­zie an­other chance to ful­fill the se­cond play­mak­ing op­tion the All Blacks are now favour­ing from full­back to take de­ci­sion­mak­ing pres­sure off Beau­den Bar­rett.

“We think Damian is very good in the air. Ben­der is world-class.

Rieko is very good re­ceiv­ing them; he’s still got a bit of work to do chas­ing them. All the other qual­i­ties he’s got I think we can cope with that one not quite be­ing world-class.”

Aaron Smith re­gains the start at half­back from the con­tin­u­al­ly­im­prov­ing TJ Per­e­nara.

Hur­ri­canes cap­tain Dane Coles is set to make the step up from the bench.

“He’s not right back yet but he’s well on the way. His throw­ing is world-class and we’ll need a good thrower for 80 min­utes on Satur­day.’’

With the test fall­ing on the cen­te­nary of Ar­mistice Day, the All Blacks will wear pop­pies on their jer­seys as a mark of re­spect for those who fought and lost their lives in war.

“When­ever we play with the poppy the sto­ries of why it’s there are talked about. It does give it a lit­tle bit of an ex­tra emo­tional hit. When you get these big test matches you don’t need too much of a wind up to be ready to go.’’

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