VIDEO: All Blacks' licence to thrill
WATCH as All Black coach Steve Hansen explains his selections and tactics for the Test against England at Twickenham on Saturday.
The selection of two playmakers is the most significant and Hansen admits it was a tactical decision.
Aaron Smith is back at scrumhalf and Beauden Barrett at flyhalf. Jack Goodhue returns from illness and is named at centre, inside Sonny Bill Williams, while the outside back trio is unchanged from the Tokyo Test against Australia – with Rieko Ioane in the No.11 jersey, Ben Smith in No.14 and Damian McKenzie at fullback.
“We want to play two playmakers,” Hansen said, explaining that they want to have additional options on attack.
“Playing against sides that play different to the way we do, we feel that having two playmakers make it harder for them to shut us down.”
Hansen said that the attacking mindset of the All Blacks will be on display on Saturday.
“Everybody in our team has a clear licence to play what is front of them,” Hansen emphasised.
“To me, that is how I got brought up playing.
“The opposition tell you what you can do, and can’t do. So my expectation is that if it’s on to counter, then we counter.
“If it is not on, then we don’t.
“Damian doesn’t miss too many opportunities.
“He likes it, so we are assuming we will see it at some point.”
Hansen said there had been real excitement and energy in the All Blacks camp this week.
“There’s huge anticipation at what lies ahead on Saturday and the team is certainly looking forward to the challenge of the weekend.
“Playing England at home is always a massive challenge.
“They have only been beaten there [Twickenham] once in the recent years,” he said of a loss to Ireland in March – the only defeat since October 2015.
“That, in itself, makes it a massive challenge.”