New Zealand unveil squad for three-match England series
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen unveils his squad to face England ahead of first Test.
Last Updated: 01/06/14 9:03am
Hansen unveiled a strong 31-man squad for the series which included most of their star players bar Dan Carter who is on a sabbatical from the sport.
England, in contrast, are shorn of as many as 15 top players for Auckland because of injuries and the Aviva Premiership final - no Saracens or Northampton players are available.
But Hansen believes Stuart Lancaster's men are a dangerous prospect.
"England have been the most improved side in world rugby in the last two years," Hansen said.
"Stuart Lancaster has built depth in his side and a strong culture, so they will be a formidable opponent and one we are very excited about playing.
"Those who think England will be fielding a weak side in the first Test are completely underestimating the quality of depth in the England squad.
"Make no mistake, England have a very strong desire and belief that they can win this series. Having said that, so do the All Blacks.
"This series gives both teams a great opportunity to put a stake in the ground, not only this year, but also for the 2015 World Cup.
"This will add to the pressure on both sides in the upcoming series."
World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw leads the squad. Centre Malakai Fekitoa and lock Patrick Tuipulotu are uncapped and win their first call-ups, while veteran back rows Jerome Kaino and Victor Vito return spells away.
Forwards: D Coles (Hurricanes), K Mealamu (Blues), W Crockett (Crusaders), C Faumuina (Blues), B Franks (Hurricanes), O Franks (Crusaders), T Woodcock (Blues), D Bird (Crusaders), B Retallick (Chiefs), P Tuipulotu (Blues), S Whitelock (Crusaders), S Cane (Chiefs), J Kaino (Blues), R McCaw (Crusaders, capt), L Messam (Chiefs), K Read (Crusaders), V Vito (Hurricanes).
Backs: T Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), A Smith (Highlanders), B Barrett (Hurricanes), A Cruden (Chiefs), C Slade (Crusaders), R Crotty (Crusaders), M Fekitoa (Highlanders), M Nonu (Blues), C Smith (Hurricanes), I Dagg (Crusaders), C Jane (Hurricanes), J Savea (Hurricanes), B Smith (Highlanders).
Watch the first Test between New Zealand and England live on Sky Sports 1, with coverage from 8am on 7 June