Kaino in for injured Read

The Bolton News: Jerome Kaino will line up against England Jerome Kaino will line up against England

Jerome Kaino has replaced Kieran Read in New Zealand's starting line-up to face England in the first Test at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday.

Canterbury loose forward Read has been forced to sit out after suffering a relapse of concussion symptoms, paving the way for the Blues' Kaino to win his 49th cap in the back row alongside captain Richie McCaw.

Highly-rated centre Malakai Fekitoa could make his debut from the bench, with uncapped duo Patrick Tuipulotu and TJ Perenara also named as replacements.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has shown no mercy on England's injury and unavailability plight, selecting from strength for the first of three June Tests.

England are shorn of Aviva Premiership finalist stars from Saracens and Northampton while a clutch of front-line operators have stayed at home to recover from long-term injuries.

New Zealand are taking no chances, though, boasting 968 caps across their squad of 23.

"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 head coach Hansen.

"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."

Aaron Cruden starts at fly-half with Dan Carter still recovering from Achilles trouble, but England's inexperienced midfield must find a way to subdue centre duo Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith.

Bullish 22-year-old centre Fekitoa has impressed in his breakthrough Super Rugby campaign with the Highlanders, earning rapid All Blacks elevation.

New Zealand have lost just once since lifting the World Cup on home soil in 2011 and are gunning to extend their world-record streak of 14 straight victories.

"We will be looking, as always, to improve our game by increasing our accuracy and precision in all our tasks across the park," said Hansen.

"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."

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree