New Zealand v England: Jerome Kaino handed recall for All Blacks with Kieran Read and Julian Savea ruled out of first Test against depleted England

Kaino will win his 49th cap as Corey Jane comes in for the prolific Savea on the wing

Jerome Kaino will replace Kieran Read in New Zealand's team 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.

The All Blacks are taking no chances though, boasting 968 caps across their squad of 23.

New Zealand's preparations have, however, been hit by the withdrawal of Julian Savea.

A knee injury sustained by Savea will give Cory Jane the chance to resume his Test career on the left wing.

England sweat over Care shoulder injury

The prolific Savea has plundered 19 tries from his 19 international appearances, but Hansen insists Jane will slot seamlessly into a starting XV that boasts far greater experience than England's side.

"As soon as we saw the scan results, we pulled out Julian straight away," Hansen said.

"We're taking it week by week and at this stage he's only out for this game.

"He'll be missed, but Cory Jane brings his own style of game. Cory's not as big a guy, but he has some pretty special skills as well.

"Cory being there probably improves our high-ball catching, not that Julian's not good at that, but Cory Jane is world class at it.

"They're just different players. Julian is a beast and Cory is a whippet, who is good on his feet and a great finisher.

"Cory coming in will enhance us so we're very fortunate that we have a world-class player to take Julian's place."

Hansen added: "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."

PA

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