England’s plans to ‘go at’ their All Blacks ‘Everest’

New Zealand lock Brodie Retallick and England captain Owen Farrell will play their 100th Tests for the teams when they meet for the first time in three years on Sunday (4.30am AEDT) at Twickenham.

Retallick was recalled as soon as his suspension from the Japan Test last month was completed.

He’s the 12th All Black to a century and only the second lock after captain Sam Whitelock.

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Their 64th Test start together will eclipse the world record held by South Africa’s Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield.

The All Blacks made wholesale changes for the Test last week against Scotland, which was won 31-23 at Murrayfield, and have reverted closer to the side which beat Wales 55-23 in Cardiff two weeks ago.

After impressing against Scotland on debut, Mark Telea has stayed on the right wing ahead of Sevu Reece in the only change to the backline in Cardiff.

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Retallick has bumped Scott Barrett to the blindside flank and Shannon Frizell to the reserves.

Prop George Bower and halfback TJ Perenara were added to the reserves after their difference-making impact at Murrayfield, and back-rower Hoskins Sotutu makes his first appearance since the Japan Test.

A former world player of the year, Retallick was praised for his latest milestone by All Blacks coach Ian Foster.

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“He has had a massive contribution to the legacy of this team over the last decade, during which he has inspired many,” Foster said.

The All Blacks are on a six win roll going into their last Test of the year.

“We feel the squad has been building nicely throughout this tour,” Foster said.

Farrell will become the third man to 100 England caps after Jason Leonard and Ben Youngs.

“We’re very pleased for Owen,” England coach Eddie Jones said.

“He is an excellent player and competitor and serving of every cap.”

Farrell also has six Test caps from three British and Irish Lions tours.

After beating Japan 52-13 last weekend at home, England has brought back Manu Tuilagi and Billy Vunipola, and switched Maro Itoje and Sam Simmonds.

Tuilagi replaces Australian-raised Guy Porter in the centres, and Vunipola is at No.8.

Simmonds was moved to the blindside flank, and Itoje is back in the second row instead of David Ribbans.

Porter and Ribbans are in the reserves, along with recalled prop Will Stuart and flanker Jack Willis.

England lost the last home match with New Zealand in 2018 but won their last contest in the 2019 Rugby World Cup semifinals in Japan.

“This fixture doesn’t come around too often and these are the games that players remember in their careers,” Jones said.

“New Zealand have had the upper hand over the years, but it’s been more balanced in recent times and the players have a chance to play their part in history.

“We’ve had a great week preparing for the game and the team is ready to go at them.

“We’ve got a responsibility to light the crowd up. We want to light the crowd up and whether it’s during the haka or post the haka, I don’t really care.”

Jones has repeatedly referenced England’s low win ratio of 19 per cent against the All Blacks – eight wins and one draw in 42 games.

“It’s always in the head, it’s always in the head. You either make a decision to go at them or you’re going to be a spectator,” Jones said.

“Everyone’s excited. This is like if you’re a mountain climber going to the top of Mount Everest.”

ENGLAND (15-1): Freddie Steward, Jack Nowell, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (c), Jonny May, Marcus Smith, Jack van Poortvliet, Billy Vunipola, Tom Curry, Sam Simmonds, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge

Reservations: Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, Will Stuart, David Ribbans, Jack Willis, Ben Youngs, Guy Porter, Henry Slade

ALL BLACKS: Beauden Barrett, Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Dalton Papali’i, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock (c), Brodie Retallick, Tyrel Lomax, Codie Taylor, Ethan by Groot

Reservations: Samisoni Taukei’aho, George Bower, Nepo Laulala, Shannon Frizell, Hoskins Sotutu, TJ Perenara, David Havili, Anton Lienert-Brown

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