All Blacks vs England: Sonny Bill Williams, Jack Goodhue get midfield nod

All Blacks prop Karl Tu'inukuafe will once again step into the hole left by a Joe Moody injury, to start at loosehead against England on Sunday.

 Moody's torn eyelid has ruled him out of the team, his latest in a string of injuries this season. His absence is one of four changes to the starting team that beat Australia two weeks ago.

Halfback Aaron Smith and lock Brodie Retallick return to their usual starting roles, pushing TJ Perenara and Scott Barrett to the bench.

The search for the best possible midfield combination continues, with Jack Goodhue returning from glandular fever to partner Sonny Bill Williams, a duo that injury and illness have prevented in recent times.

 Ryan Crotty goes to the bench and usual impact player Anton Lienert-Brown gets a week off.

 Coach Steve Hansen says it's not an indication that Williams and Goodhue, who also featured briefly against France in the third test in June, are his top centre pairing.

 "It doesn’t matter which one you pick," he says. "We have to work out what combinations really gel well together and what we can do with the bench."

All Blacks vs England: Sonny Bill Williams, Jack Goodhue get midfield nod
Photo credit: Newshub

Dane Coles returns to the top 23 and will come off the bench, after proving himself against Japan last week.

A good performance from Coles could make for an eye-catching contest with Codie Taylor for the starting hooking spot.

 Coles' ability around the pitch and hitting lineout jumpers means there is no room for Nathan Harris, who has been a space-filler in his absence.

 "He's not right back yet, but he's well on the way," says Hansen. "His throwing is world class and we’ll need a good thrower for 80 minutes on Saturday."

Damian McKenzie will once again line up at fullback, acting in a dual playmaker role, along with first-five Beauden Barrett.

Hansen believes McKenzie's field kicking and ability to move into first receiver, takes some of the pressure off Barrett.

Barrett believed it was a success against Australia in Japan and Hansen thinks it could be a key to victory against more conservative teams like England.


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