Cruden, SBW keep All Blacks places

Date published: November 6 2014

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Aaron Cruden and Sonny Bill Williams will start at fly-half and inside centre when New Zealand face England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Chiefs duo Aaron Cruden and Sonny Bill Williams will start at fly-half and inside centre when New Zealand face England at Twickenham on Saturday.

As expected, the All Blacks selectors have made a number of changes after giving less experienced squad members an opportunity against the United States, with 12 of the squad from that matchday 23 boosted by the return of some experienced players.

The matchday squad that takes the field against England has 1,029 Test caps between them and an average age of 27 years.

Number eight Kieran Read, Cruden, Williams and full-back Israel Dagg retain their starting spots from the USA Test, while two reserves, lock Brodie Retallick and wing Julian Savea, are back in the starting XV.

Prop Wyatt Crockett joins fellow prop Owen Franks and hooker Dane Coles in the front row; lock Samuel Whitelock is reunited with Retallick in the second row, while All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and number six Jerome Kaino are alongside Read in the back row.

Scrum-half Aaron Smith makes his 11th start of the year inside Cruden, while the All Blacks’ most capped centre, Conrad Smith, will partner Williams in the midfield. Joining Savea and Dagg in the back three is Ben Smith.

The forward reserves are hooker Keven Mealamu, props Ben Franks and Charlie Faumuina, lock Patrick Tuipulotu and loose forward Liam Messam, while the back reserves are scrum-half TJ Perenara, fly-halfBeauden Barrett and midfielder Ryan Crotty.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said: “This Test match is a great opportunity to once again experience the atmosphere of Twickenham and to lay down a marker of where we are currently at in relation to our opponents, England.

“We are extremely excited about this challenge and looking forward to it immensely.

“Having played England already three times this year, at the beginning of our season, and again having the opportunity to play them at the end of season, will tell us a lot about how much our game has progressed.”

The All Blacks will also run out onto Twickenham in their new all-black All Blacks kit which was unveiled in London on Wednesday.

The teams will again be playing for the Hillary Shield which honours the late, great Sir Edmund Hillary.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Liam Messam, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ryan Crotty.

Date: Saturday, November 8
Kick-off: 14:30 local (GMT)
Venue: Twickenham, London
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: J

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