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Page last updated at 18:03 GMT, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Smith back in New Zealand line-up

ENGLAND v NEW ZEALAND
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 29 November Kick-off: 1430 GMT Coverage: Live on Sky Sports and BBC Radio 5 Live. Highlights on BBC Three (Saturday, 1910 GMT) and BBC Two (Sunday, 1510 GMT), BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on BBC Sport website

New Zealand centre Conrad Smith
Smith will win his 23rd cap when he lines up at Twickenham on Saturday

New Zealand have recalled centre Conrad Smith in the only change to the team for their 'grand slam' tour decider against England on Saturday.

Smith missed the victory over Wales because of a groin injury he picked up against Ireland on 15 November.

The 27-year-old will start at outside centre in place of Richard Kahui, who drops out of the squad completely.

Should New Zealand defeat England, they will complete their third successful 'grand slam' tour of the home nations.

New Zealand have not conceded a try in their wins over Scotland, Ireland and Wales this month and have won their last six games against England.

They are aiming to add to their previous grand slams in 2005 and 1978.

PREVIOUS ‘GRAND SLAM’ ATTEMPTS
1905: Beat Scot, Eng, Ire; lost 3-0 to Wales
1924/5: Beat Ire, Wal, Eng; Not invited to play Scot
1935/6: Beat Scot & Ire; lost to Wales & Eng
1953/4: Lost 13-8 to Wales; Beat Ire, Eng, Scot
1963/4: Beat Ire, Wal, Eng; Drew 0-0 in Scot
1967: Beat Eng, Wal, Sco; Could not play Ire due to foot 'n mouth
1972/3: Beat Wal, Sco & Eng; Drew 10-10 in Ire
1978: Beat Ire 10-6, Wales 13-12, Eng 16-6, Scot 18-9
2005: Beat Wal 41-3, Ire 45-7, Eng 23-19, Scot 29-10
England go into the game on the back of a record home defeat at the hands of South Africa, and All Blacks coach Graham Henry has warned his side to expect a backlash from Martin Johnson's men.

"After England's loss to South Africa last weekend we know they will come out and throw everything at us," said Henry.

"But the All Blacks are relishing the challenge and looking forward to the Test."

Victory at Twickenham will be a sweet moment for the New Zealand management team after the torrid end to their World Cup campaign last year.

Henry, together with assistants Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith, remained in posts despite the shock quarter-final defeat against France in Cardiff.

But since then they have retained the Tri-Nations for the fourth season running as well as sealing a 3-1 Bledisloe Cup triumph over Australia in Hong Kong on 1 November.

"We've been through a lot of pressure, but winning the Tri-Nations and the Bledisloe Cup gave us an opportunity to relax and enjoy the tour," said Henry.

606: DEBATE
"As for the grand slam, it's important for teams to set goals and leave a legacy.

"To play Tests on five consecutive Saturdays and win them all is a major achievement, just as much as the Tri-Nations or a Bledisloe Cup."

Henry added that the selection of Smith was a "reasonably straightforward decision".

"I feel for Richard but Conrad has played some good rugby all year. He was our number one centre coming over, so we are back to our number one line-up."

Hooker Hikawera Elliot will take over from Corey Flynn in an otherwise unchanged set of replacements.

The last time the teams met at Twickenham was in 2006, when the All Blacks won 41-20.


New Zealand: Mils Muliaina; Joe Rokocoko, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Sitiveni Sivivatu; Dan Carter, Jimmy Cowan; Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Neemia Tialata, Brad Thorn, Ali Williams, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (capt), Rodney So'oialo.
Replacements: Hikawera Elliot, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Kieran Read, Piri Weepu, Stephen Donald, Isaia Toeava.

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see also
Cipriani axed from England team
25 Nov 08 |  English
Jeremy Guscott column
24 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales 9-29 New Zealand
22 Nov 08 |  Welsh
England 6-42 South Africa
22 Nov 08 |  English
Ireland 3-22 New Zealand
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
England 14-28 Australia
15 Nov 08 |  English
Scotland 6-32 New Zealand
08 Nov 08 |  Scottish
England 39-13 Pacific Islanders
08 Nov 08 |  English


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