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Christie wins race for No 9 jersey, Robertson keeps faith with All Blacks squad

Alex Powell,
Publish Date
Thu, 11 Jul 2024, 11:17am

Christie wins race for No 9 jersey, Robertson keeps faith with All Blacks squad

Alex Powell,
Publish Date
Thu, 11 Jul 2024, 11:17am

All Blacks coach Scott Robertson has stayed consistent in his selections, with just one injury-enforced change to the starting lineup to meet England at Eden Park on Saturday night.

Finlay Christie will start at halfback in place of TJ Perenara, who is out of the squad due to a leg injury. Cortez Ratima takes Christie’s place on the bench and will be in line to make his test debut if called upon.

“Finlay has worked hard and earned his place in the starting side and it will be a proud day for Cortez and his whānau. He’s a talented young man who is ready for test footy,” Robertson said.

“We can feel New Zealand’s support here in Auckland and we will hear it at a sold-out Eden Park. It’s a very special venue to the All Blacks, and we’re going there on Saturday to win the series against England.”

The fixture will be Christie’s first test start since the All Blacks’ 23-20 win over Australia in Dunedin in August 2023.

Samipeni Finau, who failed an HIA in last weekend’s win over England in Dunedin, was cleared to play and will return to take his place at blindside flanker alongside Dalton Papali’i and Ardie Savea in the loose trio.

All you need to know about Scott Robertson’s side look to win the series over England after a one-point victory in Dunedin.   


All Blacks v England - History 

England haven’t won in New Zealand since 2003, just their second ever win over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil. They have met six times previously at Eden Park, the last test being in 2014 when the All Blacks won 20-15. England famously won in 1973 for their first victory here. 


Overall record All Blacks v England 

Played 44 

All Blacks won 34 

England won 8 

Draws 2 


All Blacks v England lineups 

All Blacks: 

Squad to be named Thursday. 


Squad to be named. 


When and where is the second test? 

After last weekend’s opener in Dunedin, both sides have travelled north to Auckland and Eden Park. Kick-off is at 7:05pm on Saturday night. 


Who will lead the haka for the All Blacks?  

The question may not be answered until Saturday night. TJ Perenara did a fantastic job leading the haka in the first test but has been ruled out of this Saturday’s game following a knee injury. Codie Taylor is a veteran with Māori heritage who could do the role. 


Who will be the All Blacks captain? 

Scott Barrett was revealed as the new All Blacks captain when the squad was announced last month, replacing Sam Cane. Ardie Savea and Jordie Barrett have been named as his vice-captains. 


All Blacks v England second test referee 

Australian Nic Berry will take charge of the match, a return to Eden Park after being the referee for the Super Rugby final. The last time he did an All Blacks game was 2022 when they beat Argentina 53-3 in Hamilton. The All Blacks have three wins, a loss to Australia and a draw with South Africa under Berry. 

England last saw Berry at the 2023 World Cup when they beat Argentina 26-23 in the bronze medal match in Paris. The previous year he oversaw a 20-9 defeat to Wales. 


All Blacks v England expert predictions 

Elliott Smith - All Blacks 13+ 

Liam Napier - All Blacks 12- 

Alex Powell - All Blacks 13+ 

Will Toogood - England 1-12 

Jason Pine - All Blacks 12- 

Elijah Fa’afiu - All Blacks 12- 

Bonnie Jansen - All Blacks 13+ 


Weather forecast 

Expecting a clear night. Mostly sunny. Breezy Sou’East winds according to Weatherwatch with a high of 11 degrees at kickoff. 


All Blacks v England TAB odds 

All Blacks: $1.27 Draw: $21 England: $3.50 


All Blacks v England How to follow the action 

For live commentary of All Blacks v England, join Elliott Smith on Newstalk ZB, Gold Sport and iHeartRadio. 

You can watch the game on Sky Sport 1 and live streaming on Sky Sport Now; an alternative commentary option from the Alternative Commentary Collective is available on iHeartRadio, Hauraki and Sky Sport 9. 

You can also find live updates at nzherald.co.nz. 

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