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Three uncapped players on NZ bench

04th June 2014 18:30

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Nod at 10: Aaron Cruden

The All Blacks have selected an experienced starting XV and three uncapped players on the bench for the Hillary Shield clash against England in Auckland.

The team features the return of Jerome Kaino to the All Blacks Test side as well the selection of three uncapped players, TJ Perenara, Patrick Tuipulotu and Malakai Fekitoa, on the bench.

The side is a real mix of experience and youth, with 968 caps in the 23, which has an average age of 27.

"I would firstly like to congratulate Jerome on his return to the Test side and also the three uncapped players who have been selected in the 23," said head coach Steve Hansen.

"We are really looking forward to this three-Test match series as it will allow us to immediately benchmark ourselves for the new season. It is the first time in our long history that we are playing a three-match Series against England and they are the perfect opponent for us at this time.

"We have a healthy respect for England and what they will bring to the contest. Our preparation, though limited by time, has been very good. We have concentrated on getting real clarity of our roles earlier in the week and will be looking to build the intensity levels as we get closer to game time.

"We will be looking, as always, to improve our game by increasing our accuracy and precision in all our tasks across the park. There is a strong desire in the group to keep improving the quality of our performances from the level they have been at. We are fully aware that if we don't, we are vulnerable to those teams that have the same mindset of improvement.

"We see this Test match as one which will be very physical with lots of ball movement that will challenge both sides aerobically and mentally."

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Cory Jane, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Victor Vito, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa

Date: Saturday, June 7
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kickoff: 19:35 (local, 07:35 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Jérôme Garcès (France)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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