Cruden surprised by Twickenham start

Aaron Cruden admitted he was taken aback after being handed the No.10 shirt for New Zealand's visit to Twickenham on Saturday. [more]

Cruden surprised by Twickenham start

Aaron Cruden admitted he was taken aback after being handed the No.10 shirt for New Zealand’s visit to Twickenham on Saturday.

The All Blacks, who will host the British & Irish Lions in 2017, kick off their autumn series against England and with Dan Carter and Beauden Barrett also in the touring party, competition is stiff at fly-half.

However, Cruden has been trusted by head coach Steve Hansen despite the 25-year-old’s recent exile from the squad after he missed a flight to Argentina during this year’s Rugby Championship.

And he was quick to pay tribute to his fellow squad members and the powers-that-be for easing his passage back into the All Blacks set-up.

“To be honest I wasn't expecting it,” Cruden told the Telegraph. “I was sitting there a little bit unsure of whether I was going to be named.

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“To be named in the starting line-up is obviously a huge honour, especially to take on the English at Twickenham. It's going to be a massive battle.

“The boys have been great, the management have been great for me, but I was pretty nervous and apprehensive coming back in after what I did.

“I know I stuffed up and I will be working hard over these next couple of weeks – and I have been already – to earn the respect that I lost, not only to the people in this team but also the rugby fans back home in NZ and this weekend is the first opportunity to really do that.”

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