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All Blacks start Cruden against England in opener

Aaron Cruden starts ahead of Beauden Barrett

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Article Published: Friday 6 June 2014|

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has named a hugely experienced matchday squad for the first Test match against England at Eden Park in Auckland.

Aaron Cruden has been named to start at number 10 ending speculation that Beauden Barrett could make the starting line up.

Hansen's team features the return of Jerome Kaino to the All Blacks Test side as well the selection of three uncapped players, TJ Perenara, Patrick Tuipulotu and Malakai Fekitoa, on the bench.

The side is a real mix of experience and youth, with 968 caps in the 23, which has an average age of 27.

"I would firstly like to congratulate Jerome on his return to the Test side and also the three uncapped players who have been selected in the 23, " said All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen.

"We are really looking forward to this three-Test match Series as it will allow us to immediately benchmark ourselves for the new season. It is the first time in our long history that we are playing a three-match Series against England and they are the perfect opponent for us at this time. "

"We have a healthy respect for England and what they will bring to the contest. Our preparation, though limited by time, has been very good. We have concentrated on getting real clarity of our roles earlier in the week and will be looking to build the intensity levels as we get closer to game time.

"We will be looking, as always, to improve our game by increasing our accuracy and precision in all our tasks across the park. There is a strong desire in the group to keep improving the quality of our performances from the level they have been at. We are fully aware that if we don't, we are vulnerable to those teams that have the same mindset of improvement.

"We see this Test match as one which will be very physical with lots of ball movement that will challenge both sides aerobically and mentally."

New Zealand

1. Tony Woodcock , 2. Dane Coles , 3. Owen Franks, 4. Brodie Retallick , 5. Samuel Whitelock , 6. Liam Messam , 7. Richie McCaw (c), 8. Jerome Kaino , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Aaron Cruden , 11. Cory Jane , 12. Ma'a Nonu , 13. Conrad Smith , 14. Ben Smith, 15. Israel Dagg

Replacements : 16. Keven Mealamu , 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Charlie Faumuina , 19. Patrick Tuipulotu , 20. Victor Vito, 21. TJ Perenara , 22. Beauden Barrett , 23. Malakai Fekitoa

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