Dan Carter will start New Zealand’s clash with England at Twickenham on Sunday after fly-half Nick Evans failed a fitness test on Friday afternoon.
Evans was included in the All Blacks’ starting line-up by head coach Graham Henry but a hamstring injury sustained during training on Wednesday reduced his chances of making the match to just 50-50. Carter was placed on standby by Henry and will now start against the world champions with Leon MacDonald filling the vacancy on the substitutes’ bench.
The exclusion of Carter, who is rated the best fly-half in the game by some margin, led to suggestions the All Blacks viewed their forthcoming Tests against France as the main attraction of their European tour.
But his presence at Twickenham makes New Zealand’s team look close to their strongest possible line-up.