All Blacks vs England: Brad Shields won't see former teammates, only enemies

Former Hurricanes captain Brad Shields will encounter some very familiar faces, if selected for England to take on the All Blacks this weekend at Twickenham.

But there will be no pleasantries exchanged, at least until the final whistle.

Shields debuted for Eddie Jones' charges in the June series against the Springboks and followed that up with a second cap against the same opposition last weekend at Twickenham.

The 27-year-old had childhood dreams of wearing the black jersey, but after years of being ignored by the national selectors, Shields accepted an invitation from Jones to be part of the England set-up.

Shields qualifies through his parents, who were both born in England.

Staring across the battle-lines on Sunday morning (NZT) will be an abundance of the loose forward’s former teammates, not only at the Hurricanes, but also in the magnificent World Cup-winning New Zealand U20 side,

That talent-rich squad included Brodie Retallick, Codie Taylor, Luke Whitelock and Waisake Naholo.

But Shields told Newshub, regardless of who All Blacks coach Steve Hansen names on Thursday, he will only see foes, not friends.

"You play against guys at any level of rugby that you know, be it club, provincial or franchise rugby,” Shields said. “Sometimes, your best mate is on the other side of the park.

"There is the old adage of enemies on the field, best friends off it.

"If I'm selected, my job this weekend is to the very best I can for my team to put us in the best position possible for success. Anything outside of that is uncontrollable.

"I'm just looking forward to the game - it's going to be a tough test.

"To play at the top level is something I've dreamed about since I was a little boy and to have the opportunity to test myself against the best is exactly the reason why we play sport in general."

Brad Shields in Hurricanes garb.
Brad Shields in Hurricanes garb. Photo credit: Photosport

Shields told Newshub that he would have no conflicting emotions, if selected to play on Sunday.

The Masterton native said playing for England was an honour and giving anything less than his best would be disgracing those who had come before him.

"There have been some amazing players that have put on that white jersey,” said Shields. “As I said, it was a massive privilege and an honour to play for England."

"To be a part of that and to be playing at the very top level is pretty cool, given the amazing players who have walked in these boots before me.

"Capping everything off was playing at Twickenham.

"That sort of solidifies that feeling of being part of the group and playing at their fortress. It was an amazing experience to put the England jersey on and play at that stadium.

“I've always wondered what that would be like, and to be there and represent England is a huge honour.

"I feel like I am home.”

The All Blacks and England announce their squads for the test match on Thursday (NZT).


Join us at 4am Sunday for live updates of the All Blacks vs England test at Twickenham.