All Blacks unveil squad

  • Last Updated: June 1 2014, 9:56 BST

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen says England are the most improved team in the world and is taking nothing for granted ahead of Saturday's first Test.

Steve Hansen and Richie McCaw plot England's downfall
Steve Hansen and Richie McCaw plot England's downfall

Hansen unveiled a strong 31-man squad for the series which included most of their star players bar Dan Carter who is on a sabbatical from the sport.

England, in contrast, are shorn of as many as 15 top players for Auckland because of injuries and the Aviva Premiership final - no Saracens or Northampton players are available.

But Hansen believes Stuart Lancaster's men are a dangerous prospect.

"England have been the most improved side in world rugby in the last two years," Hansen said.

"Stuart Lancaster has built depth in his side and a strong culture, so they will be a formidable opponent and one we are very excited about playing.

"Those who think England will be fielding a weak side in the first Test are completely underestimating the quality of depth in the England squad.

"Make no mistake, England have a very strong desire and belief that they can win this series. Having said that, so do the All Blacks.

"This series gives both teams a great opportunity to put a stake in the ground, not only this year, but also for the 2015 World Cup.

"This will add to the pressure on both sides in the upcoming series."

World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw leads the squad. Centre Malakai Fekitoa and lock Patrick Tuipulotu are uncapped and win their first call-ups, while veteran back rows Jerome Kaino and Victor Vito return spells away.

Forwards: D Coles (Hurricanes), K Mealamu (Blues), W Crockett (Crusaders), C Faumuina (Blues), B Franks (Hurricanes), O Franks (Crusaders), T Woodcock (Blues), D Bird (Crusaders), B Retallick (Chiefs), P Tuipulotu (Blues), S Whitelock (Crusaders), S Cane (Chiefs), J Kaino (Blues), R McCaw (Crusaders, capt), L Messam (Chiefs), K Read (Crusaders), V Vito (Hurricanes).

Backs: T Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), A Smith (Highlanders), B Barrett (Hurricanes), A Cruden (Chiefs), C Slade (Crusaders), R Crotty (Crusaders), M Fekitoa (Highlanders), M Nonu (Blues), C Smith (Hurricanes), I Dagg (Crusaders), C Jane (Hurricanes), J Savea (Hurricanes), B Smith (Highlanders).