x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Sheridan only change in England side to face All Blacks

The prop returns to the fold after a 20-month absence as Martin Johnson names his team to face New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.

Andrew Sheridan will return to the England front row after a 20-month absence for Saturday’s Twickenham showdown with New Zealand after recovering from shoulder surgery.

Sheridan’s inclusion at loose-head prop in place of Tim Payne is the only change England manager Martin Johnson has made to the side which started the 21-20 victory over Australia in June.

Lewis Moody has been retained as captain after recovering from a serious eye injury.

Shontayne Hape, the former New Zealand rugby league international, will face his countrymen at inside centre. Hape, Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Ben Youngs and Courtney Lawes all make their first Test starts at Twickenham.

Sheridan featured in two British & Irish Lions Tests in the summer of 2009 but dislocated his shoulder in October and missed the rest of last season.

England’s tight-five destroyed Australia’s rookie pack during the summer but the All Blacks will be a far more dangerous animal.

Payne has dropped out of the 22-man squad altogether, with Bath prop David Wilson providing front-row back-up from the bench.

Wilson is joined among the replacements by two uncapped players in Gloucester lock Dave Attwood and the Leeds flanker Hendrie Fourie, who has replaced James Haskell in the 22-man squad. With Jonny Wilkinson injured, Charlie Hodgson returns to an England Test squad for the first time since the summer tour of New Zealand in 2008.

England team: B Foden (Northampton); C Ashton (Northampton), M Tindall (Gloucester), S Hape (Bath), M Cueto (Sale); T Flood (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester); A Sheridan (Sale), S Thompson (Leeds), D Cole (Leicester), C Lawes (Northampton), T Palmer (Stade Francais), T Croft (Leicester), L Moody (Bath, capt), N Easter (Harlequins).

Replacements: D Hartley (Northampton), D Wilson (Bath), D Attwood (Gloucester), H Fourie (Leeds), D Care (Harlequins), C Hodgson (Sale), D Armitage (London Irish).