All Blacks call up the big guns for Eng­land Test

Mail & Guardian - - Sport -

New Zealand have sig­nalled their at­tack­ing in­tent against Eng­land by nam­ing two play­mak­ers in a full­strength side for Satur­day’s block­buster Test at Twick­en­ham.

Two-time world player of the year Beau­den Bar­rett and mer­cu­rial young­ster Damian McKen­zie will both start in the one-off Test in Lon­don.

As ex­pected, the run-on XV has no play­ers from the sec­ond-string All Blacks side that beat Ja­pan 69-31 last week in Tokyo.

It more closely re­sem­bles the side that de­feated Aus­tralia 37-20 a week ear­lier in Yoko­hama, with Bar­rett again start­ing at fly­half and McKen­zie at full­back.

Coach Steve Hansen said ei­ther player could mar­shall the at­tack, mak­ing the world cham­pi­ons dif­fi­cult to pre­dict for de­fen­sively minded teams such as Eng­land.

“We think, against sides that play a lit­tle dif­fer­ently than we do, hav­ing two play­mak­ers makes it a lot harder for them to shut us down,” he told re­porters.

“It also takes away the frus­tra­tion of that per­son who is shut down when he’s out there solo. It takes that away be­cause he’s got some­one else to take a bit of the heat.”

The start­ing side has four changes from the side that faced Aus­tralia, one of them forced by in­jury this week when prop Joe Moody tore his eye­lid at train­ing, open­ing the way for Karl Tu’inukuafe.

Reg­u­lar starters Brodie Re­tal­lick and Aaron Smith re­turn at lock and half­back re­spec­tively, re­plac­ing Scott Bar­rett and TJ Per­e­nara.

Jack Good­hue re­turns to the cen­tres af­ter a bout of glan­du­lar fever, rel­e­gat­ing Can­ter­bury Cru­saders team­mate Ryan Crotty to the bench.

Hansen said the All Blacks wanted to “make a state­ment” at Twick­en­ham, where they have only been beaten once since 2015.

“Eng­land at home is al­ways a mas­sive chal­lenge for any­one,” he said.

“There’ll be 80 000 peo­ple there. For us it’s about mak­ing our own state­ment. To do that, we’ll need to bring our own in­ten­sity and ac­cu­racy to an even higher level.”

Team (15-1)

Damian McKen­zie; Ben Smith, Jack Good­hue, Sonny Bill Wil­liams, Rieko Ioane; Beau­den Bar­rett, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read (capt), Ardie Savea, Liam Squire; Brodie Re­tal­lick, Sam White­lock; Owen Franks, Codie Tay­lor, Karl Tu’inukuafe.


Dane Coles, Ofa Tu­un­gafasi, Nepo Laulala, Scott Bar­rett, Matt Todd, TJ Per­e­nara, Richie Mo’unga, Ryan Crotty. — AFP

Play­mak­ers: Beau­den Bar­rett (front) and Damian McKen­zie (left) will open against Eng­land, but Scott Bar­rett (right) is out. Photo: Marty Melville/AFP

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