First Test: New Zealand player profiles

Pen pics of the 15 All Blacks players set to take on the Lions at Eden Park on Saturday

New Zealand’s All Blacks coach Steve Hansen watches his players training during their captain’s run ahead of the first Test against New Zealand. Photo: Peter Parks/Getty Images

15 Ben Smith

Age: 31. Height: 6’1”. Weight: 93kg (14st 10lbs)

Arguably the best fullback in world rugby, he possesses great speed and balance, can spot a gap from a 100 paces, and his timing and angles of running are sublime.

14 Israel Dagg


Age: 29. Height: 6’1”. Weight: 95kg (15st 1lbs)

He has played a great deal of his rugby at fullback and is a commanding presence under the high ball, has a fine kicking game, can finish and create space for team-mates.

13 Ryan Crotty

Age: 28. Height: 6’. Weight: 91kg (14st 5lbs)

The man who broke Irish hearts in 2013 with his late try is a consummate footballer who can play in either centre position with his intelligent distribution and appreciation of space.

Ryan Crotty in action for the All Blacks against South Africa last year. Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

12 Sonny Bill Williams

Age: 31. Height: 6’3”. Weight: 110kg (17st 5lbs)

The Lions found him tough to handle in the game against the Blues with his power and offloading game; his clash with Ben Te’o promises to be seismic.

11 Rieko Ioane

Age: 20. Height: 6’3”. Weight: 102kg (16st 1lb)

This will be his third meeting with the Lions on this tour, after an outstanding display in the Blues’ 22-16 victory and a not-so-impressive one for the Maori in the defeat in Rotorua. A real handful physically and good in the air.

10 Beauden Barrett

Age: 26. Height: 6’2”. Weight: 91kg (14st 5lbs)

Arguably the best outhalf in the world, he has tremendous vision, is a running threat, his passing range and ability to offload is striking, while the accuracy of his cross-kicks is pinpoint.

From left, Scott Barrett, Jordie Barrett and Beauden Barrett sing the national anthem ahead of their clash with Samoa last week. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

9 Aaron Smith

Age: 28. Height: 5’7”. Weight: 84kg (13st 2lbs)

When in his pomp the best in his position in global terms but under pressure to retain the nine jersey. Quicksilver distribution, good vision and a fine appreciation of space.

1 Joe Moody

Age: 28. Height: 6’2”. Weight: 118kg (18st 8lbs)

The Crusaders scrum went into the Lions match with a ferocious reputation but the tourists painted the better pictures for referee Mathieu Raynal, winning several penalties, three against Moody, who is normally strong in all aspects of the game.

2 Cody Taylor

Age: 26. Height: 6’. Weight: 106kg (16st 9lbs)

The Lions put him under severe pressure at lineout time during the game against the Crusaders and he buckled slightly but will have some additional options in this game. He is very athletic.

3 Owen Franks

Age: 29. Height: 6’1”. Weight: 119kg (18st 11lbs)

Part of that Crusaders frontrow that lost the penalty count 4-2 at scrum time but South African referee Jaco Peyper may not be as decisive in his interpretation. Franks boasts an all-round excellence.

Cody Franks is tackled by Jared Payne during Ireland’s win over the All Blacks in Chicago. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

4 Brodie Retallick

Age: 26. Height: 6’9”. Weight: 120kg (19st)

A key member of the All Blacks lineout with his power, mobility and aerial skills complementing athleticism and rugged defence. He has the capacity to dominate on both sides of the throw.

5 Sam Whitelock

Age: 28. Height: 6’8”. Weight: 116kg (18st 3lbs)

Athletic and mobile with a range of skills of which a back would be proud while possessing the power and work-rate to contribute sizeably at the set piece and breakdown.

6 Jerome Kaino

Age: 34. Height: 6’4”. Weight: 105kg (16st 7lbs)

The veteran proved his fitness in the game against Samoa. He is the glue that binds the All Blacks’ defence; hard-hitting and aggressive.

Jerome Kaino feels the force of Samoa last week. Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

7 Sam Cane

Age: 25. Height: 6’2”. Weight: 103kg (16st 2lbs)

He hits hard as Robbie Henshaw will testify, Richie McCaw’s successor has already captained his country and those leadership qualities complement his proficiency at the breakdown.

8 Kieran Read

Age: 31. Height: 6’4”. Weight: 111kg (17st 8lbs)

There was some concern that he might not make it back in time from a broken thumb but the captain is fit to take his place. A superb athlete, he is also the team’s lineout leader.

You can follow all of the action from Eden Park on our liveblog from 7.45am on Saturday morning (kick off: 8.35am).

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer