New Zealand rugby fan

All Blacks Coach Graham Henry and his Assistant Coaches Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith have named their team for the Hillary Shield Test against England at Twickenham on Saturday 6 November, with Sonny Bill Williams to make his Test debut.

Starting XV:

1.  Tony Woodcock (70)

2.  Keven Mealamu (81)

3.  Owen Franks (18)

4.  Brad Thorn (47)

5.  Samuel Whitelock (9)

6.  Jerome Kaino (34)

7.  Richie McCaw – captain (90)

8.  Kieran Read (26)

9.  Alby Mathewson (2)

10.  Daniel Carter (75)

11.  Hosea Gear (2)

12.  Ma’a Nonu (53)

13.  Sonny Bill Williams *

14.  Josevata Rokocoko (67)

15.  Mils Muliaina (90)


16.  Hikawera Elliot (uncapped)

17.  Ben Franks (7)

18.  Anthony Boric (16)

19.  Liam Messam (5)

20.  Andy Ellis (14)

21.  Stephen Donald (20)

22.  Isaia Toeava (27)

* Test debut

Number of Test caps in brackets

The starting XV features four changes from the team that lost the opening match of the All Blacks BackingBlack Tour against Australia in Hong Kong. Sonny Bill Williams will make his Test debut at centre replacing Conrad Smith and becomes the latest New Zealand rugby league – rugby union double international following 1992- 1995 All Black Marc Ellis.  In the other changes, lock Samuel Whitelock comes in for Tom Donnelly in the second row, Alby Mathewson will make his starting debut for the All Blacks at halfback, replacing Jimmy Cowan, while Hosea Gear gets his second Test start, replacing the injured Cory Jane on the wing.

Meanwhile, on the bench, Ben Franks comes in as prop cover, lock Anthony Boric and loose forward Liam Messam cover their respective positions, and Andy Ellis is the reserve halfback.

Graham Henry said the All Blacks were focussed on this weekend’s Test, following last weekend’s loss to Australia.

“There is a resolve in the team to put in an improved performance this weekend and the team has worked hard on that this week. There is excitement in the camp as well, with the All Blacks playing England at Twickenham for the Hillary Shield always a marvellous occasion.”

The Hillary Shield, the rugby trophy honouring the late Sir Edmund Hillary, was first contested in the 2008 Test against England at Twickenham. It honours Sir Edmund’s lifetime of achievements as a mountaineer, adventurer, humanitarian and as Knight of the Garter. A legendary figure in New Zealand, Sir Edmund was also widely respected in the UK and around the world as the climber who, with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, made the first successful ascent of Mt Everest in 1953 as part of a British climbing expedition.

The All Blacks have played England 33 times since 1905 with 26 wins to New Zealand, six to England and one draw.  The last Test against England was at Twickenham on last year’s end of year tour, which the All Blacks won 19 – 6.