The Daily Telegraph - - British & Irish -

15 Ben Smith Full-back Caps 61

The best full-back in the world ac­cord­ing to Sir Gra­ham Henry but only made that po­si­tion his own last year. An elu­sive run­ner with no ob­vi­ous weak­nesses.

12 Sonny Bill Wil­liams In­side cen­tre Caps 34

One of the most nat­u­rally gifted players in the game with his bril­liant off­loads caus­ing havoc – as the Lions found to their cost when they played the Blues.

9 Aaron Smith Scrum-half Caps 59

Was widely con­sid­ered the world’s best scrum-half but en­dured dis­ci­plinary is­sues last year be­fore win­ning back his place from TJ Per­e­nara. Just 5ft 7in tall.

3 Owen Franks Prop Caps 91

Has missed just 12 Tests in the last seven years and has be­come one of New Zealand’s most re­li­able players since be­ing brought into the All Black set-up by Henry in 2010.

6 Jerome Kaino Flanker Caps 78

One of the finest flankers in his­tory and has been an in­te­gral part of the All Blacks’ last two World Cup-win­ning sides.

14 Is­rael Dagg Wing Caps 62

The All Blacks’ start­ing full-back when they won the 2011 World Cup but has strug­gled with in­juries since, and has only re­cently re­cov­ered from a knee prob­lem.

11 Rieko Ioane Wing Caps 2

An elec­tri­fy­ing young wing who will be mak­ing his first Test start at Eden Park, hav­ing made his first two ap­pear­ances for the All Blacks off the bench.

1 Joe Moody Prop Caps 25

A fine scrum­mager who be­came start­ing loose­head prop dur­ing the knock­out stages of the 2015 World Cup and has held on to the po­si­tion ever since.

4 Brodie Re­tal­lick Sec­ond row Caps 61

Tow­er­ing lock was World Rugby’s Player of the Year in 2014 and has won a stag­ger­ing 95.08 per cent of the games he has played for the All Blacks.

7 Sam Cane Flanker Caps 41

Long seen as the heirap­par­ent to Richie Mc­caw, al­though he faces a real bat­tle with Ardie Savea to keep hold of the No7 shirt.

13 Ryan Crotty Out­side cen­tre Caps 26

A com­bat­ive, solid cen­tre who has be­come a reg­u­lar mem­ber of the side since be­ing left out of the 2015 World Cup squad.

10 Beau­den Bar­rett Fly-half Caps 50

The reign­ing World Rugby Player of the Year and a wor­thy heir to the great Dan Carter in the All Black No10 shirt who will pose a huge threat to the Lions.

2 Codie Tay­lor Hooker Caps 16

Stand­ing in for in­jured first-choice Dane Coles but is dan­ger­ously quick and ef­fec­tive in the loose. This is only Tay­lor’s fifth Test start.

5 Sam White­lock Sec­ond row Caps 85

A bril­liant, ath­letic lock who had tri­als for New Zealand’s un­der-age bas­ket­ball sides, White­lock is just 15 caps shy of his cen­tury de­spite be­ing only 28-years-old.

8 Kieran Read No 8 (capt) Caps 97

All Blacks are de­lighted their tal­is­manic No8 has re­turned from in­jury to cap­tain the side, with his line-out and of­fload­ing abil­ity par­tic­u­larly cru­cial.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.