Preview: All Blacks v England

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James Mortimer     22 Jun 2014     Getty Images

On September 18, 1965 Wilson Whineray led the All Blacks alongside the likes of Colin Meads and Brian Lochore, aided by the polish of Fergie McCormick from the back, and started the first such run.

Over the next four years New Zealand would establish a world record 17 straight wins, and in 1997/1998 the Springboks would match the mark.

With 32 home wins (also a world record) behind them, the All Blacks have resisted many changes, and while the inclusion of Malakai Fekitoa might lesson the experience factor, his combination with Ma’a Nonu could be explosive.

Such lofty numbers are impressive, as is Steve Hansen’s imposing 28-1-1 coaching record, but this only raises the portfolio of the scalp if England can play the same explosive game that saw them become the only team to defeat the current World Champions during their current reign.

Not pyrotechnics like the All Blacks like to use, snapping ruthlessly into position and being aware to opportunities – arguably more so as the contest progresses – but the sort of central punch that has bent New Zealand’s defensive line before.

Manu Tuilagi adds direct play that has ripped New Zealand apart with that 38-21 win, but the All Blacks have been able to impose their own all-court style and counter most of what the English have thrown at key moments.

All Blacks team:
England team:
IRB Stats:

This will be doubly required if Kieran Read, the only other selection change to the XV alongside the Highlanders centre, finds his rare game where he roams out wide with devastating effect.

Seven changes to England will alter their style, as Stuart Lancaster is clearly looking to give his entire 46-man squad a run, but their cohesion clearly was different from the first to second Test, and maybe the visitor's don't know their full strength combination.

Restoring Tuilagi to the midfield hints at the requirement to get quick answers, and decide what will work best.

Victory here in New Zealand, becoming the first team since the Springboks in 2009, and just the 37th ever in international history, would be a massive boost to the 2015 World Cup hosts.

The All Blacks are also chasing a historic 3-0 win series whitewash, and looking to enter The Investec Rugby Championship with the sort of form that will have them seeking other landmarks throughout that tournament.

The Red Rose are still with just two victories in New Zealand, and adding to the triumphs when John Pullin (1973 at Eden Park) and Martin Johnson (2003 at Westpac Stadium) recorded 16-10 and 15-13 wins over the hosts would be among the team's finest hours.

England, now without a victory in six Tests here, have almost been dared to take the All Blacks on with a blistering offensive mindset, but Hansen knows that few teams can take on the World Champions at a gunfight, especially at their own corral.

Ironically, Lancaster’s English probably have a more attack minded orientation as evidenced by the massive clock up of running metres during the Six Nations than the home outfit.

These All Blacks are not pure offence merchants as they have been in the past, now a mix of defensive resilience and with an ability to lift their game for a period to a rare level to grind out success.

With Fekitoa now boosting the new regiment to 25 under Hansen, the redevelopment continues but there are still 744 starting caps in the team to run out onto Waikato Stadium.

Much has been made of the young buck nature of a burgeoning England team, but Dylan Hartley with 56 caps leads as the veteran, with Chris Ashton boasting 38 to be ranked second overall.

The Red Rose also have a young and exciting bench, with 85 Tests collectively.

World Cup winning skipper Richie McCaw, extends his record as most capped New Zealand Test player in his 127th Test. He will also join Sean Fitzpatrick with 128 games for the All Blacks, second equal behind Colin Meads 133.

While Tony Woodcock (playing 110th), Ma’a Nonu (91st), Kieran Read (62nd), Owen Franks (57th), Sam Whitelock (54th) and Jerome Kaino (51st) complete the starters with a minimum of half of century of Tests.

Keven Mealamu, who will be seeking his 113th cap off the bench, is joined with 102 other international appearances available off the All Blacks pine.

This will be New Zealand’s 515th Test match, with a 392-104-18 ledger so far, and a full crowd is expected at Waikato Stadium.

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Liam Messam, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ryan Crotty.

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 David Wilson, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.

Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Luther Burrell.