All Blacks recall Julian Savea
November 15, 2013
Julian Savea has continued his try-scoring ways in 2013 © Getty Images
Steve Hansen has made three changes, one positional, to his All Blacks squad to play England at Twickenham on Saturday, when Dan Carter will make his 100th Test appearance for New Zealand.
Julian Savea has been recalled to the starting side having recovered from the illness that saw him miss the victory against France in Paris last weekend, while Luke Romano replaces Sam Cane on the replacements bench to ensure second-row depth.
Cory Jane, makes way for Savea after making his first Test appearance of the year after recovering from knee surgery, with Charles Piutau, man of the match against France, switching from the left wing to the right flank to accommodate the Hurricanes flyer.
Savea missed the France Test after feeling unwell on the flight to Europe. He was confined to bed while he battled the flu, but the illness infected his lungs, exacerbated by his asthma. Treatment from French doctors fast-tracked his recovery and he was on his feet for the first time on Friday.
"It's quite nice this week to get back training with the boys," Savea said. "Last week was pretty frustrating. It was an awesome stadium to play at and I missed an opportunity."
Savea scored two tries against England last year, which took him to 12 from his first nine Tests, and he has crossed four times In his nine Tests this year to confirm he remains a damaging weapon for the All Blacks.
Hansen, meanwhile, said England "is a Test match we are very much looking forward to".
"We were completely outplayed by them last year, but this is an opportunity for us to see if we have improved our game to the point where we can be competitive. The players are excited because this is what Test rugby is all about.
"We are expecting a really physical game with huge intensity, but also a game that will have high levels of energy, pace and skills.
"We know the England coaching staff have done a lot of homework so this may be a game where we add a few new things they haven't seen before."
All Blacks: Israel Dagg; Charles Piutau, Ben Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea; Daniel Carter, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam; Samuel Whitelock, Brodie Retallick; Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock
Replacements: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano, Steven Luatua, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Cruden, Ryan Crotty
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September