All Black coach Graham Henry seems to have learned from his mistakes last year.
“Rotation”, it would seem, is now considered a dirty word in New Zealand rugby circles; the Headmaster seems less keen on building two teams that have defeat all comers, preferring to rather have one unit that has the experience and rhythm to actually win when it matters.
The All Blacks were quite impressive in beating the Irish by ten points last weekend, but will need to keep the momentum going when they face the English this weekend.
Blues tighthead prop John Afoa is the only injury casualty from the Irish game, having hurt his knee. 30-year-old Crusaders strongman Greg Sommerville comes straight in at 3, to complete a strong front row that contains Hurricanes team-mates Neemia Tialata and Andrew Hore at loosehead and hooker respectively. The third Hurricanes front-ranker in the swart, John Schwalger, will be the reserve prop.
Rodney So’oialo will again play out of position at blindside flank, with in-from Blues eighthman Jerome Kaino hanging on to the number 8 jersey.
There is a strong emphasis on combinations in the backline, with the halfback pair of Ellis and Carter both from Canterbury. Hurricanes centres Nonu and Smith will also have another chance to develop on their good showing in the Super 14.
All Black team to face England:
15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Anthony Tuitavake, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Rodney So’oialo, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Greg Somerville, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Neemia Tialata. Reserves: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17, John Schwalger, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Sione Lauaki, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Leon MacDonald.Tweet