Smith returns for All Blacks
November 25, 2008
Centre Conrad Smith will line up against England at Twickenham on Saturday © Getty Images
All Blacks Coach Graham Henry has opted to recall centre Conrad Smith for this weekend's clash with England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Smith, omitted from the All Blacks side which thumped Wales 29-9 at the weekend, will start at outside centre in place of Richard Kahui, who drops out of the squad. The 27-year-old Smith will win his 23rd cap and second start of the tour in the only change to the side.
Henry said it had been an incredibly special tour of Hong Kong, Ireland and the United Kingdom for the 2008 All Blacks and, after 14 Tests this year, the team was keen to end the tour - and the year - on a high.
"After England's loss to South Africa on the weekend we know that the English will come out and throw everything at us. But the All Blacks are relishing the challenge and we are looking forward to the Test," he said.
The Hillary Shield, the new rugby trophy honouring the late Sir Edmund Hillary, will be contested for the first time this weekend and Henry said it meant the match had added significance.
"Sir Edmund is a hero to all New Zealanders, including this All Blacks team, and the fact that we are playing for the Hillary Shield for the first time will give the Test an edge," he said.
The All Blacks and England have played 31 times, with the last Test in June this year in Christchurch, with the All Blacks winning 44-12. The last time the teams met at Twickenham was in November 2006, with the All Blacks that day winning 41-20.
New Zealand: Mils Muliaina, Josevata Rokocoko, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Dan Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Neemia Tialata, Brad Thorn, Ali Williams, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (c), Rodney So'oialo
Replacements: Hikawera Elliot, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Kieran Read, Piri Weepu, Stephen Donald, Isaia Toeava
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