Williams in All Blacks team to face England

Former New Zealand rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams will make his All Blacks Test debut against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Former New Zealand rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams will make his All Blacks Test debut against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The 25-year-old, who represented the Kiwis alongside the England centre Shontayne Hape, replaces Conrad Smith at centre in one of four changes from the team which lost 26-24 to Australia in Hong Kong last weekend.

In other changes, lock Samuel Whitelock comes in for Tom Donnelly in the second row, Alby Mathewson will make his starting debut for the All Blacks at half-back, replacing Jimmy Cowan, while Hosea Gear gets his second Test start, replacing the injured Cory Jane on the wing.

Ben Franks has been named on the bench in as prop cover, along with lock Anthony Boric, loose forward Liam Messam and half-back Andy Ellis.

Coach Graham Henry is keen for his side to get back on the winning trail after Saturday's dramatic loss to Australia.

"There is a resolve in the team to put in an improved performance this weekend and the team has worked hard on that this week," he said on www.allblacks.com.

"There is excitement in the camp as well, with the All Blacks playing England at Twickenham for the Hillary Shield always a marvellous occasion."

Meanwhile, experienced All Blacks half-back Piri Weepu has re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union and Hurricanes, extending his commitment to the end of 2011.

NZRU general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen welcomed Weepu's re-signing, saying: "We're delighted that Piri wants to stay with us in what's going to be an exciting year for New Zealand rugby.

"We certainly saw his skill and talent with the All Blacks and Hurricanes this year and we know that he is keen to get back to the international scene once he recovers from injury," Sorensen said.

Weepu had been a certainty for selection for the European tour, but suffered a leg injury playing for Wellington against Taranaki in the ITM Cup a day before the All Blacks squad was announced.

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