Williams to face England

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LONDON, November 4- Rugby league convert Sonny Bill Williams will make his Test debut for the All Blacks against England after being named in a powerful New Zealand line-up here Thursday.
Williams was one of four changes from the side beaten by Australia in Hong Kong last weekend, and will form a physically imposing partnership with Ma No’nu at centre.

Elsewhere, Hurricanes wing Hosea Gear replaces the injured Cory Jane on the wing, while Blues scrum-half Alby Mathewson comes in for Jimmy Cowan, who has failed to make the 22 for Saturday’s game at Twickenham.

The other change sees second row Sam Whitelock replace Tom Donnelly in the pack, where he will partner another former rugby league player Brad Thorn.

"There is a resolve in the team to put in an improved performance this weekend and the team has worked hard on that this week," All Blacks coach Graham Henry said.

While England have vowed to make Saturday’s match an "old-fashioned" rugby match by restricting the All Blacks open style, New Zealand forwards coach Steve Hansen believes the Tri-Nations are more than capable of rising to the challenge.

"I think England would be happy to go from set piece to set piece to set piece, so they can take us on in that area and see if they can beat us," Hansen told reporters in a briefing on Wednesday.

"We know from experience year after year that when we play England they will be very physical up front and we’ve got to match that and get on top of it.

"That is the type of game they want to play and we can’t back away from it – but that doesn’t stop us from playing our own style of rugby," he added.

New Zealand (15-1)

Mils Muliaina (Chiefs), Joe Rokocoko (Blues), Sonny Bill Williams (Canterbury), Ma’a Nonu (Hurricanes), Hosea Gear (Hurricanes), Dan Carter (Crusaders), Alby Mathewson (Blues); Kieran Read (Crusaders), Richie McCaw (Crusaders, capt), Jerome Kaino (Blues), Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), Brad Thorn (Crusaders), Owen Franks (Crusaders), Keven Mealamu (Blues), Tony Woodcock (Blues)

Replacements: Hika Elliot, Ben Franks, Anthony Boric, Liam Messam, Andy Ellis, Stephen Donald, Isaia Toeava.

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