All Black lock Brodie Retallick was today unable to name a single member of England’s squad for the tour of New Zealand.
England’s 47-man party for the three-Test series includes Mike Brown, the Six Nations player of the tournament, and Owen Farrell, who has starred for Heineken Cup runners-up Saracens.
When Retallick was asked at a press conference if he knew any of England’s line-up the 23-year-old said there were “a couple” and named “Michael Lawes”— an erroneous reference to his opposite number Courtney Lawes.
England’s match-day squad for the First Test in Auckland on Saturday will have an unfamiliar look as it will not include players from Saracens and Northampton who contested last week’s Premiership Final.
Stuart Lancaster’s side are 8-1 to win the First Test — the hosts are 16-1 on — but will be encouraged by the news that IRB player of the year Kieran Read has been ruled out of the Eden Park fixture.
On Saturday, the No8 played his first game since suffering concussion in April but All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen revealed that Read has suffered a recurrence of the symptoms and woke up yesterday “not feeling the best”.
“We’re not prepared to risk him playing and that’s our decision, not his, and we’ll progress that day by day,” said Hansen. “Long term I’m not too concerned.”
With Read out, Steven Luatua comes into the squad. Winger Julian Savea was undergoing a scan on a knee injury today.