Dan Carter set to start for All Blacks
November 29, 2012
All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter has recovered from an Achilles problem that had put his participation in doubt © Getty Images
New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter has been named to start against England at Twickenham on Saturday but will undergo a late fitness test on his Achilles injury.
Carter was forced to sit out the All Blacks' 33-10 victory over Wales last weekend, but returned to training this week and has reclaimed his place in the starting line-up at the expense of Aaron Cruden in one of three changes to the starting XV that triumphed in Cardiff.
Elsewhere, Keven Mealamu is set to start at hooker instead of the suspended Andrew Hore although concerns over a calf injury mean he will also face a final fitness Test on Thursday as will prop Tony Woodcock who is suffering from a similar problem. In the other change, Brodie Retallick gets the nod ahead of Luke Romano in the second row.
"DC, Woody and Kevvy obviously got through training the other day and we're comfortable enough to name them at this stage, but they'll have to get through Thursday," said All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen.
Looking ahead to his side's final outing of an so-far-unbeaten year, Hansen said: "There is huge motivation within the team to finish the season off on a high and real excitement ahead of this weekend, with a packed house at Twickenham always a great occasion.
"We know that the English will lift themselves for their final match of the year, especially following their two recent narrow defeats (to South Africa and Australia) and we need to be prepared to match them in all facets."
On his preference for Retallick in the second row, he added: "He's had a couple of games off the bench and has a big motor and goes all day long," Hansen said. "We just think this game will suit him. It gives Luke a chance to have a break. Both of them are rookies and have had a big year so it's just an opportunity to subtly change it but not too much."
New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Richie McCaw (capt), Kieran Read
Replacements: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano, Victor Vito, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ben Smith
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