Tag Archives: hansen

Kiradech Aphibarnrat wins Malaysian Open

Smokin! Aphibarnrat holds nerve to win Malaysian Open after thunderstorm delay

By
Phil Casey, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

08:28 GMT, 24 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:01 GMT, 24 March 2013

Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat today held his nerve after an untimely weather delay to claim his first European Tour title with a wire-to-wire victory in the Maybank Malaysian Open.

The tournament had been reduced to 54 holes following thunderstorms on each of the first three days, and another arrived just after the final group had teed off on the 16th hole today.

That meant a two-hour delay with Aphibarnrat one shot ahead of Italy's Edoardo Molinari, who had completed his 67 just before the delay and was safely in the clubhouse.

Smokin: Kiradech Aphibarnrat takes a puff on a cigarette on his way to victory

Smokin: Kiradech Aphibarnrat takes a puff on a cigarette on his way to victory

Hands on: Kiradech Aphibarnrat poses with the trophy after winning the Malaysian Open

Hands on: Kiradech Aphibarnrat poses with the trophy after winning the Malaysian Open

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

But Aphibarnrat made light of the disruption, hitting his approach to the 16th to three feet for birdie and then saving par on the next after almost finding water over the back of the green.

The 23-year-old former junior world champion therefore had the luxury of taking six on the 634-yard par-five 18th to complete a closing 70, sealing a a one-shot win over Molinari and claiming the first prize of 303,000.

Denmark's Anders Hansen (66) was third on 11 under, with France's Victor Dubuisson (70) and South African Charl Schwartzel (71) joint fourth a shot further back.

'This means a lot to me,' Aphibarnrat said. 'I had been struggling a lot after getting sick with my thyroid, but I fought and worked hard with my dad and my coach to have today.

'I have to thank my family, my mum and dad have always supported me and I am sure they are in front of the TV watching.'

Realisation: Aphibarnrat won his first European Tour title in Malaysia

Realisation: Aphibarnrat won his first European Tour title in Malaysia

Kiradech Aphibarnrat celebrates

The leaders started the day on the third hole and Aphibarnrat pitched to three feet for a birdie before holing from 15ft for an eagle on the par-five fifth.

At that stage his nearest challenger was Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who had eagled the same hole and also picked up three birdies, but the three-time major winner carded three bogeys in succession on the back nine to fade to sixth.

Bogeys at the seventh and 12th then saw Aphibarnrat joined at the top of the leaderboard by China's Wu Ashun, but as Wu also faded – shanking a pitch on the 16th into the crowd – Aphibarnrat birdied the 14th to edge ahead of Molinari, who was by now in the clubhouse.

The thunderstorm which arrived soon after looked to have come at a bad time for Aphibarnrat, but he added: 'I think it was good for me, I have time to rest and there were a lot of things going through my head. After I birdied the 16th I thought I had a good chance to win.

'The 18th hole I've played 10 times before, but today it was the toughest hole I have ever played, even though I could make six to win.'

Missing out: Edoardo Molinari had to settle for second place

Missing out: Edoardo Molinari had to settle for second place

Molinari was left to rue a number of missed chances, despite having previously missed the cut in all five of his appearances this season.

'It's mixed emotions because I'm very happy to have a good week for the first time in a long time,' said the former Ryder Cup player, who changed coach in December after missing three months following wrist surgery.

'The swing changes (under Sean Foley, who also coaches Tiger Woods and Justin Rose) are starting to pay off which is surprising because I thought it would take a lot longer, but I'm disappointed because I had a lot of chances on the back nine. The 18th is only the second fairway I missed all day which is very disappointing.

'I felt if I birdied the last I might have won outright because it puts a lot of pressure on the guy coming up behind, but unfortunately I think I'll be one or two short.'

Match of the Day debate – what needs to change to close the gap on Sky Sports

Colin Murray has gone… but does Match of the Day need a proper shake-up to close the gap on the champions at Sky Sports

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But pillorying MOTD is no fun. For many of us, it was the football programme to watch when we were growing up; the first show of each new season was eagerly anticipated and some of the analysis and comment provided has stood the test of time.

Remember when Alan Hansen famously declared that 'you will win nothing with kids' back in August 1995 about Manchester United Hansen may have been proven wrong but that is exactly the type of thought-provoking, headline grabbing conjecture it needs to regain.

So after jettisoning Murray how does the BBC, whose first live football commentary – a game between Arsenal and Sheffield United at Highbury – was broadcast 86 years ago today, continue to make the improvements required that will get the MOTD brand back to the required standard

Flagship: Jimmy Hill presented Match of the Day when it was THE show to watch

Flagship: Jimmy Hill presented Match of the Day when it was THE show to watch

Flagship: Jimmy Hill presented Match of the Day when it was THE show to watch

For starters, let the pundits argue. It is tedious letting a presenter ask questions to one man; let the pundits ask questions of each other, let them get wound up. It will show the audience they care and are taking their duties seriously. Nobody ever wants to hear one side of the story.

How about actually sending one of the pundits to a game and doing a brief video diary, getting their reaction immediately after a goal has been scored or a red card has been shown The footage could then be shown after the highlights on MotD and debated accordingly.

Biggest of all, though, why not have a proper shake up of the pundits Some, plainly, are not doing enough. Others state the obvious and making banal observations. If they are not taking their role seriously, find someone who will – and there will be fresh options available next summer.

Leading the way: Gary Neville, Graeme Souness and Jamie Redknapp are key to Sky's success

Leading the way: Gary Neville, Graeme Souness and Jamie Redknapp are key to Sky's success

Another idea would to bring the time the show starts forward; why not aim for 9pm or earlier Let’s be honest, losing Casualty from a prime time slot would not be greeted with dismay – seeing Match of the Day continue to dwindle, however, would be cause for sorrow.

At least in wielding the axe on Murray, a man for whom the mute button was invented, the BBC have recognised that a revamp is required and Chapman, who has a great sporting knowledge and is a journalist, will ask proper questions.

But if the questions that are being aimed at MOTD are to go away, losing Murray cannot be the only change.

So, how would you fix Match of the Day Sportsmail's experts give their verdict…

Charles Sale

There's
a big need for BBC to freshen up the pundits on both Match of the Day
shows . If Liverpool’s insightful Jamie Carragher decides to retire at
the end of the season, he would be an excellent signing for the Beeb but Sky, BT Sport and ITV will also be chasing him.

Follow Charles Sale on Twitter @charliesale

Matt Barlow

Never mind the face for radio and nasal northern tones, Mark Chapman's direct style is the perfect antidote to the failed Murray experiment. He will not sneer and swerve the news issues in an effort to ingratiate himself to famous people on the sofa and he chairs Five Live's Monday Night Club superbly, balancing the weekend issues with the week ahead.

Support him with stronger pundits, pitch for topical guests and generate proper debate. Assuming they can't poach Gary Neville or Graeme Souness from Sky, at least try to bring back Lee Dixon from ITV.

Maybe give Jamie Carragher a whirl. Drop the goofy cartoons and the obsession with big names with bland opinions and dull delivery like Alan Shearer and Michael Owen.

Follow Matt Barlow on Twitter @Matt_Barlow_DM

Insight: Jamie Carragher

Legend: Jamie Carragheris nearing retirement at Liverpool

Insight: Jamie Carragher could fancy a pundit's role when he finally retires at Liverpool

Neil Ashton

Ray Wilkins. Any former player turned professional analyst who takes the time out to go to a match unpaid to watch a player specifically to gen up on them merits a place on the sofa of any football programme.

Wilkins did just that last Saturday, heading to Selhurst Park to watch Wilfried Zaha in action for Crystal Palace against Bolton: 'I've never seen him and when I'm asked about him on Sky I want to be able to be able to talk from a position of strength,' he told me.

It was impressive, if only because it is so rare (Jim White on Sky Sports News is also fanatical about detail and goes to games whenever he can). This should be normal practice for any television football analyst.

Match of the Day could improve their coverage no end by making their analysts go to matches and heading back to the studio full of enthusiasm. It would give them the chance to speak to people at the game from 'their world' – coaches, managers, scourts and former players – and pick up the insight and gold dust that the viewers are begging for in the modern era. Sitting in front of a bank of television screens watching a game does nothing to motivate the guests – get them out there.

Follow Neil Ashton on Twitter @neilashton_

Dedication: Ray Wilkins does his research when it comes to analysing players

Dedication: Ray Wilkins does his research when it comes to analysing players

Talent: BBC's presenter Dan Walker

Talent: BBC's presenter Dan Walker

Laura Williamson

Lighten things up, add a bit of humour and make MOTD2 distinct from Saturday's show by all means, but the programme's aim is to show football highlights, not launch careers in daytime TV.

The excuse for the dire levels of 'analysis' on Match of the Day is the number of games and the lack of time, but there's no such get-out clause on a Sunday night.

A decent pundit like Lee Dixon could really make a name for themselves, but they need a journalist in the presenter's chair to help them do that. Just please, BBC, do not let Robbie 'For me' Savage or Alan 'I'm only here on a Sunday because I went to Anfield yesterday' Hansen anywhere near that studio in Salford. Freshen things up a bit.

Dan Walker would be an ideal presenter but he chooses not to work on Sundays and Jack Humphrey has joined BT, so Mark Chapman does fit the bill.

Less 'Chappers' and more 'Mark' and I might finally be able to stop fast-forwarding the inane chatter between matches.

Follow Laura Williamson on Twitter @laura_mail

Mark Alford

Adrian
Chiles. There I've typed it. His stint on MOTD2 was arguably the best
broadcasting of his career. He actually challenged those tired old pros
to deliver some proper analysis. And his on-screen chemistry with wee
Gordon Strachan made Sunday nights less sermon, more fun.

I'd
also bring back L

ee Dixon – top insight, clever analysis, decent bloke –
and create a special ref's room for Sportsmail's Graham Poll to deliver
his 'official line' on contentious incidents (just keep him focused on
the officials). Oh, and Beckham's free, isn't he I'd be interested to see if there's anything in there…

Follow Mark Alford on Twitter @AlfieDM

Ian Ladyman

My ideal anchor would be Mark Chapman so am delighted to see that he has been given the job. He has the right touch, understands his football and has enough confidence to guide and control his guests rather than indulge and pander to them as others have.

In the experts’ chair I would throw money at Gary Neville and if that didn’t work – which it probably wouldn’t – I would ask Graeme Souness and Lee Dixon if they fancied being the regulars. I would abandon recent attempts to use current players and managers as they rarely say anything of note.

I like Mark Alford’s suggestion of having a referee on hand to explain contentious decisions.

Follow Ian Ladyman on Twitter @Ian_Ladyman_DM

Official line: Graham Poll could offer his expertise on referee decisions

Official line: Graham Poll could offer his expertise on referee decisions

Heads up: Phil Neville has shown potential as a pundit

Heads up: Phil Neville has shown potential as a pundit

Matt Lawton

I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to Match of the Day. For me there’s nobody better than Gary Lineker when it comes to anchoring the show. But I would mix things up a bit on the sofa.

If we accept that Gary Neville, Jamie Redknapp and Graeme Souness are lost to Sky forever, I’d bring in guys like Phil Neville more regularly. Jamie Carragher would be brilliant. You want good talkers with great knowledge and strong opinions.

Follow Matt Lawton on Twitter @Matt_Lawton_DM

Sami Mokbel

Lee Dixon and Ian Wright. Both played for Arsenal, but couldn't be different in terms of their TV personas. Dixon was analysis brilliant during Euro 2012 and he has continued that on ITV this season. But given the channel's lack of live football, he is severely underused. His insight is first class.

Wright, on the other hand, is impulsive, open to snap judgements and uncomfortable to watch at times. But he is compulsive viewing. Together they would be an MOTD match made in heaven.

Follow Colin Young on Twitter @SamiMokbel81_DM

Could you handle it Ian Wright divides opinion on the TV

Could you handle it Ian Wright divides opinion on the TV

Lee Clayton

There
IS quality in the existing MOTD team, they just need to freshen it up.
How many of its viewers have seen Hansen or Lawrenson play Sky add
Jamie Redknapp then Gary Neville and will freshen it up again this
summer. They have the best live coverage, the best highlights programme
(Goals on Sunday) and the Beeb has been left behind.

More analysis,
insight and use of Prozone or Opta stats to back up their argument. Gary
Lineker is still the No 1 football presenter, but Mark Pougatch from 5 Live would be ahead of 'Chappers' in my line-up. Or if you want a
completely different programme on Sunday nights for the follow-up, how
about Danny Baker Excellent broadcaster, football fan and all-round Mr
know-it-all.

Follow Lee Clayton on Twitter @LeeClayton_

Colin Young

Put Goals On Sunday on BBC1 on Sunday night, the programme fronted by Jeff Stelling with his enthusiasm and love of the game alongside Chris Kamara. Kammy's insight and analysis of games and key incidents is always well researched, spot on and interesting.

The array of his Sunday guests would be welcome on the MOTD sofa too but the pick of the pundits right now is definitely Gordon Strachan. Hope he can manage Scotland as well as he can talk.

Follow Colin Young on Twitter @cyoungdailymail

Passion: Danny Baker

Passion: Chris Kamara

Passion: Both Danny Baker (left) and Chris Kamara love the game and have a huge following

Neil Moxley

I'd
like to see a former pro in the hot-seat a la Lineker. I think the BBC
should look towards Matt Holland, clearly a little bit above the norm as
far as ex-footballers go. Lee Dixon should be the MOTD2 analyst.

Then
I'd like to see some input from the officials – either a current or
former ref – but only for them to provide insight on refereeing
decisions – any other comments would leave them open to claims of bias.
Finally, get a current manager or player to fill in the line-up.

Follow Neil Moxley on Twitter @Neil_Moxley_DM

Paul Newman

The thing about Match of the Day 2 is
that it dared to be different and certainly should be different to the
Saturday show. The sight of Alan Hansen on there this season has made my
heart sink. Colin Murray might not be everyone's cup of tea but I liked
the irreverence. Adrian Chiles was at his best when he presented the
programme.

Follow Paul Newman on Twitter @newman_cricket

Guiding hand: Adrian Chiles (right) was lured to ITV from the BBC

Guiding hand: Adrian Chiles (right) was lured to ITV from the BBC

Les Snowdon

It is time for the Beeb to build this increasingly important programme around a retired pro with genuine insight and opinion.

Step forward Jamie Carragher…the presenter needs to be a journalist who is not afraid to pursue genuine news lines and who can tease the best out of Carragher.

Luke Benedict

Gabby Logan. This is an opportunity to give MOTD2 the makeover it so desperately needs. In the modern Premier League era, Sunday hosts the bigger, better matches yet the flagship highlights show has descended into fluffy guff. Cut the painful, MTV-style build-ups and just show us the highlights. Then talk about it.

The programme needs to be anchored by a specialist broadcast journalist who can bring the expertise out of former players turned pundits – who otherwise revel in banal banter if the studio descends into an old boys' club.

Follow Luke Benedict on Twitter @L_Benedict_DM

Mike Anstead

Match of the Day is stale. Gary Lineker is a good presenter but he is let down by tired, cliched pundits like Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson. They look like they are bored of football. Most viewers are bored of them.

Losing Lee Dixon was a big blow. He brought intelligence analysis and insight. You could tell he had done his research. Perhaps they need to bring him back.

Sky hit a crossroads when Andy Gray and Richard Keys left. But they tackled the problem head-on by going for Gary Neville and promoting bright young talent like Ed Chamberlain. The BBC are also at a similar junction – but they need to attack the root of the problem.

Michael Owen and Phil Neville both have potential, but they'd need tough training and commitment like Neville at Sky. You'v

e got to want to be a pundit. And how about James Richardson as host I last saw him presenting World's Strongest Man. What a waste.

Follow Mike Anstead on Twitter @mike_anstead

Alex Kay

Gary Richardson. He asks probing, intelligent questions every Sunday morning on the radio. It is rare a news line does not come out of his show. We want proper analysis and journalism – not quirky, patronising nonsense.

Follow Alex Kay on Twitter @Alex_Kay_DM

Laurie Whitwell

He
would probably think it the worst idea initially, but if Paul Scholes
could be convinced how valued his opinion would prove I would switch on
each week. He knows the game inside out, has played in all manner of
situations, and in my eyes is the most talented player Englishman of his
generation.

So his
insight and knowledge would prove fascinating. He would be able to
disect match action with precision and perhaps provide dressing room
tidbits. Once he retires for good, of course.

Follow Laurie Whitwell on Twitter @lauriewhitwell

Phil Gradwell

I would get Lee Dixon back. I feel he is marginalised at ITV and is not really suited to the pre-match/half-time/full-time pundit role, especially when ‘straight-talking’ Roy Keane takes over. Dixon is much better when he has had time to analyse a match and can pick out incidents and make you see something slightly differently.

At the moment, I rarely watch the analysis on MOTD as I don’t think they’ll tell me anything I didn’t already know, whereas Dixon does.

Follow Phil Gradwell on Twitter @GraddersOnline

Chris Cutmore

The last thing Match of the Day needs is another matey-matey, back-slapping host to massage the egos of the old boys by bringing up their past glories. It needs someone not afraid to ask real, probing questions, a journalist rather than an ex pro – how about the superb Ian Dennis of 5Live

But, frankly, a new presenter isn’t enough to shake MOTD out of its slumber (Alan Hansen certainly sleepwalks his way through each episode). So let’s take a broom and clear out the tired old pundits and the squeaky, hyperventilating commentators while we’re at it.

Follow Chris Cutmore on Twitter @Chris_Cutmore

James Andrew

James Richardson is the man the BBC need to breath new life into Match of the Day. The presenter was hugely popular as the face of Football Italia in the 90s. His relaxed style of presenting would suit the MOTD2 format yet he is informed enough to ask the key questions.

As for pundits, a younger breed is needed, people who can relate to the game today, not the 1980s. Danny Murphy is being groomed by Sky and is someone who is intelligent and articulate, so if the BBC could poach him he could provide fresh insight.

Follow James Andrew on Twitter @JamesAndrew_

Alex Horlock

I'd give Mark Pougatch a shot at hosting. He's been in the game for years on BBC 5Live and has done a tremendous job time and again. He's been covering the live football to an incredibly high standard with the Beeb and has proven how capable he is to entice listeners. What little he's done on television, he's looked assured. To accompany him, I'd keep Alan Hansen and make sure Pat Nevin was on the panel every week – he's a near-flawless pundit.

Follow Alex Horlock on Twitter @alexhorlock

Hillsborough charity single "He Ain"t Heavy, He"s My Brother" is Christmas No 1

A fitting tribute! Hillsborough charity single 'He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother' claims Christmas No 1 spot

|

UPDATED:

19:15 GMT, 23 December 2012

A cover version of 1969 Hollies hit 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' released as a tribute to the Hillsborough tragedy has claimed the Christmas No 1 spot.

The song, which has been heavily promoted by the club's famous figures over the past few weeks, beat X Factor winner James Arthur to the coveted position.

Former manager and player Kenny Dalglish, Paul McCartney and Alan Hansen are among the cast of stars of Justice Collective and were joined by Robbie Williams, Gerry Marsden, Melanie C, Paloma Faith and Shane MacGowan in the bid to raise vital cash for the families continuing to fight for justice for the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives in the tragedy.

**Scroll down to watch the video of the song

Release: Kenny Dalglish and John Bishop led the campaign to get the single to the top of the charts

Release: Kenny Dalglish and John Bishop led the campaign to get the single to the top of the charts

WHERE TO GET THE SINGLE

Click here to buy from iTunes

Or text the word ‘Justice’ to 80010 from your mobile in the UK (1 + standard network rate)

Current Liverpool boss Brendan
Rodgers said: 'I think it's been great support [and] a great applause to
the football fraternity. I think they recognised what these families
and people have been through.

'For
that to make number one shows that they've been helping them and
that'll be great for everyone concerned, puts a nice finish to the year
and allow the families to move on and be proud of what they've done.'

The record sold 269,000 copies this week, compared with 224,000 by Arthur.

A statement on the Liverpool website thanks all those who had bought the single as well as those who dedicated their time to ensuring people knew of it.

Fight: Families, with support from the likes of Shadow Health Secretary and MP for Leigh, Andy Burnham (centre), continue campaigning for justice for the 96 who lost their lives in 1989

Fight: Families, with support from the likes of Shadow Health Secretary and MP for Leigh, Andy Burnham (centre), continue campaigning for justice for the 96 who lost their lives in 1989

It read: 'After weeks of campaigning
and promoting, football fans around the world have achieved an historic
feat – the Justice Collective's Hillsborough charity single 'He Ain't
Heavy, He's My Brother' is Christmas No.1!'

'Following widespread support for the track it was confirmed as the highest seller of the week on Sunday.

'Competition had been provided by
X-Factor winner James Arthur with 'Impossible', but even the 24-year-old
himself asked the public to purchase 'He Ain't Heavy' to ensure it
finished in top spot before Christmas.

Together we're better: Everton projected this message on to Anfield in support of the single

Together we're better: Everton projected this message on to Anfield in support of the single

'Football supporters, both Liverpool
and otherwise, backed the song from its inception, and clubs across the
country have given their support by playing the record at half-time
during league fixtures.

'Celebrities, politicians, football
figures and contributors to the recording have all used social media to
raise awareness about the single, while Liverpool manager Brendan
Rodgers made an impassioned plea for fans to buy the track on Thursday.'

Everton showed their class with their
own message of support, taking to Twitter on their official account to
say: 'Great news that the Justice Collective have made it to number one.
Congratulations from everybody at Everton. #merseysideunited.'

VIDEO Hillsborough charity single He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

Play Video

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Star: Paul McCartney in the single which hopes to raise 1m for families of victims of the Hillsborough disaster

Star: Paul McCartney in the single which hopes to raise 1m for families of victims of the Hillsborough disaster

Support: Liverpool legends Alan Hansen and Kenny Dalglish sing their lines in the song

Support: Liverpool legends Alan Hansen and Kenny Dalglish sing their lines in the song

He ain't heavy: Former manager Kenny Dalglish and Peter Reid
Who's singing what

The road is long – ANDY BROWN

With many a winding turn – ANDY BROWN

That leads us to who knows where – GERRY MARSDEN

Who knows when – PAUL HEATON

But I'm strong – GLENN TILBROOK

Strong enough to carry him – GLENN TILBROOK

He ain't heavy, he's my brother – JOHN POWER/ROBBIE WILLIAMS

So on we go – JOHN POWER

His welfare is of my concern – MELANIE C

No burden is he to bear – ROBBIE WILLIAMS

We'll get there – ROBBIE/MELANIE C

For I know – REBECCA FERGUSON

He would not encumber me – HOLLY JOHNSON

He ain't heavy, he's my brother- HOLLY JOHNSON/REBECCA F

If I'm laden at all – BEVERLEY KNIGHT

I'm laden with sadness – BEVERLEY KNIGHT

That everyone's heart – PALOMA FAITH

Isn't filled with the gladness- PALOMA FAITH

Of love for one another – ELIZA DOOLITTLE

It's a long, long road – DAVE McCABE

From which there is no return – PETER HOOTON

While we're on the way to there – REN HARVIEU / JON McCLURE

Why not share- JON McCLURE / REN HARVIEU

And the load – DAVE McCABE

It doesn't weigh me down at all – MACCA

Coz he ain't heavy – MACCA

(He ain’t heavy) – SHANE MACGOWAN

He's my brother – SHANE MACGOWAN/ BEVERLEY K

He's my brother – ALL (most)

He ain't heavy, he's my brother … – ALL (most)

Hillsborough charity single hoping for Christmas No 1

King Kenny at the cash till… Dalglish bid to make Hillsborough charity single Xmas No 1

|

UPDATED:

14:26 GMT, 17 December 2012

The Hillsborough charity single, He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, was released today with comedian John Bishop joining Kenny Dalglish in the campaign to get the song to the top of the charts for Christmas.

Dalglish, Paul McCartney and Alan Hansen are among the cast of stars of Justice Collective and are joined by Robbie Williams, Gerry Marsden, Melanie C, Paloma Faith and Shane MacGowan in the bid to raise vital cash for the families continuing to fight for justice for the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives in the 1989.

Scroll down to watch the video of the song

Release: Kenny Dalglish and John Bishop lead the campaign to get the single to the top of the charts

Release: Kenny Dalglish and John Bishop lead the campaign to get the single to the top of the charts

First in line: Dalglish sells the first copies of the single which hopes to raise 1m

First in line: Dalglish sells the first copies of the single which hopes to raise 1m

VIDEO Kenny Dalglish and John Bishop launch the single

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VIDEO Hillsborough charity single He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

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Get your copy now…

Click here to buy from iTunes

Or text the word ‘Justice’ to 80010 from your mobile in the UK (1 + standard network rate)

The song was played at football matches
across the country this weekend in a show of solidarity with X-Factor
winner James Arthur the main competition for the Christmas No 1 spot
which will be revealed on Sunday.

Star: Paul McCartney in the single which hopes to raise 1m for families of victims of the Hillsborough disaster

Star: Paul McCartney in the single which hopes to raise 1m for families of victims of the Hillsborough disaster

Support: Liverpool legends Alan Hansen and Kenny Dalglish sing their lines in the song

Support: Liverpool legends Alan Hansen and Kenny Dalglish sing their lines in the song

He ain't heavy: Former manager Kenny Dalglish and Peter Reid
Who's singing what

The road is long – ANDY BROWN

With many a winding turn – ANDY BROWN

That leads us to who knows where – GERRY MARSDEN

Who knows when – PAUL HEATON

But I'm strong – GLENN TILBROOK

Strong enough to carry him – GLENN TILBROOK

He ain't heavy, he's my brother – JOHN POWER/ROBBIE WILLIAMS

So on we go – JOHN POWER

His welfare is of my concern – MELANIE C

No burden is he to bear – ROBBIE WILLIAMS

We'll get there – ROBBIE/MELANIE C

For I know – REBECCA FERGUSON

He would not encumber me – HOLLY JOHNSON

He ain't heavy, he's my brother- HOLLY JOHNSON/REBECCA F

If I'm laden at all – BEVERLEY KNIGHT

I'm laden with sadness – BEVERLEY KNIGHT

That everyone's heart – PALOMA FAITH

Isn't filled with the gladness- PALOMA FAITH

Of love for one another – ELIZA DOOLITTLE

It's a long, long road – DAVE McCABE

From which there is no return – PETER HOOTON

While we're on the way to there – REN HARVIEU / JON McCLURE

Why not share- JON McCLURE / REN HARVIEU

And the load – DAVE McCABE

It doesn't weigh me down at all – MACCA

Coz he ain't heavy – MACCA

(He ain’t heavy) – SHANE MACGOWAN

He's my brother – SHANE MACGOWAN/ BEVERLEY K

He's my brother – ALL (most)

He ain't heavy, he's my brother … – ALL (most)

Hillsborough charity single revealed including Alan Hansen, Paul McCartney, Kenny Dalglish and Robbie Williams

Hillsborough charity single revealed: Dalglish and Hansen join McCartney and Robbie in video to raise cash for families of victims

|

UPDATED:

18:26 GMT, 4 December 2012

Kenny Dalglish, Paul McCartney and Alan Hansen are among the cast of stars of Justice Collective singing on the Hillsborough charity single: He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.

They are joined by Robbie Williams, Gerry Marsden, Melanie C, Paloma Faith and Shane MacGowan in the bid to raise vital cash for the families continuing to fight for justice for the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives in the 1989.

Liverpudlian Guy Chambers, who is producing the charity single, hopes the single can raise 1million – if it reaches the No 1 spot after official release on December 17.

VIDEO: Justice Collective – He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

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Jamming: Paul McCartney plays guitar in the charity single

Jamming: Paul McCartney plays guitar in the charity single

Alan Hansen (left) and Kenny Dalglish sings along in the group's bid to raise 1million for the victims' families

Alan Hansen (left) and Kenny Dalglish sings along in the group's bid to raise 1million for the victims' families

He told The Mirror: 'I am deeply honoured to be asked to produce this record for the 96.

'If we can help to raise money to support the families’ legal battle so that they finally get their time in court then our job will be done.

'I spent my teenage years in Liverpool and feel a deep affection for both its musical heritage and the unique solidarity of its people.'

Supportive: Mel C and Co are taking part to get justice for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster

Supportive: Mel C and Co are taking part to get justice for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster

Pitching in: John Bishop joins in with the rendition

Pitching in: John Bishop joins in with the rendition

He ain't heavy: Former manager Kenny Dalglish and Peter Reid

He ain't heavy: Former manager Kenny Dalglish and Peter Reid

Who's singing what

The road is long – ANDY LAWSON

With many a winding turn – ANDY LAWSON

That leads us to who knows where – GERRY MARSDEN

Who knows when – PAUL HEATON

But I'm strong – GLENN TILBROOK

Strong enough to carry him – GLENN TILBROOK

He ain't heavy, he's my brother – JOHN POWER/ROBBIE WILLIAMS

So on we go – JOHN POWER

His welfare is of my concern – MELANIE C

No burden is he to bear – ROBBIE WILLIAMS

We'll get there – ROBBIE/MELANIE C

For I know – REBECCA FERGUSON

He would not encumber me – HOLLY JOHNSON

He ain't heavy, he's my brother- HOLLY JOHNSON/REBECCA F

If I'm laden at all – BEVERLEY KNIGHT

I'm laden with sadness – BEVERLEY KNIGHT

That everyone's heart – PALOMA FAITH

Isn't filled with the gladness- PALOMA FAITH

Of love for one another – ELIZA DOOLITTLE

It's a long, long road – DAVE McCABE

From which there is no return – PETER HOOTON

While we're on the way to there – REN HARVIEU / JON McCLURE

Why not share- JON McCLURE / REN HARVIEU

And the load – DAVE McCABE

It doesn't weigh me down at all – MACCA

Coz he ain't heavy – MACCA

(He ain’t heavy) – SHANE MACGOWAN

He's my brother – SHANE MACGOWAN/ BEVERLEY K

He's my brother – ALL (most)

He ain't heavy, he's my brother … – ALL (most)

England are World Cup contenders, admits New Zealand coach Steve Hansen

Lancaster's brave, new England can rule the world, admits stunned coach Hansen

|

UPDATED:

19:14 GMT, 1 December 2012

Stuart Lancaster's England side were
hailed as potential World Cup winners after recording an historic 38-21
victory against New Zealand at Twickenham.

Three tries in eight second-half
minutes from Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi saw England
inflict their biggest-ever win against the All Blacks in an absorbing
Test match.

Flying high: Chris Ashton goes over in typically exuberant fashion

Flying high: Chris Ashton goes over in typically exuberant fashion

Over: Ashton
England's records

England's previous biggest win over New Zealand was 13-0 at Twickenham in January, 1936.

England's previous highest score against New Zealand was the 31 points they scored in a 31-28 victory at Twickenham in November, 2002.

Only once in 498 Tests had New Zealand been beaten by a bigger margin – 28-7 against Australia in August, 1999.

England's last victory over New Zealand was 15-13 in Wellington in June, 2003.

England had not beaten New Zealand in their previous nine matches before this game.

New Zealand were unbeaten in their 20 Tests (19 victories and one draw) before this game.

New Zealand had not lost a Test to European opposition on an autumn tour since the 31-28 defeat to England in November, 2002.

And after watching his side's 20-match unbeaten run demolished New Zealand coach Steve Hansen gave Lancaster's young side a ringing endorsement.

Hansen said: 'There were two teams capable of winning the World Cup out there.

'No excuses, we got beaten by the better side. This is a good England side. You should get behind them and back them a bit. They have shown what they can do and if you back them it will make them even more dangerous.

'They thoroughly deserved their victory and should be proud of what they have achieved with magnificent football. They took the game to us from the get-go, full credit to them.'

England, who had lost narrowly to Australia and South Africa in the past two weeks, took a 15-0 lead at half-time, courtesy of four penalties and a drop goal by fly-half Owen Farrell.

And while New Zealand hit back with two tries from Julian Savea and Kieran Read to get within a point at 15-14 England regrouped in spectacular fashion to take the game away from the world champions, who gave some respectability to the scoreline with a late second try from Savea.

Lancaster said: “The performance was exactly what we had hoped for. I'm chuffed for the players. When the tough times came we stayed together. That team belief with a young England side definitely augurs well for the future.

On the charge: Brad Barritt breaks away before going over for England's first try

On the charge: Brad Barritt breaks away before going over for England's first try

On the charge: Brad Barritt breaks away before going over for England's first try

'At 15-14 we came back with three tries
of our own. We've tried to instil a no-fear mentality in the players and
to make them have the courage of their convictions.

'To build a 15-point lead was very pleasing. The All Blacks came back
strong but our energy and our fight for the shirt was outstanding.
That's what got us across the line.

'Our defence was outstanding. We forced the All Blacks into errors and not many sides do that.'

The victory was a triumph for captain Chris Robshaw, who had been
heavily criticised for poor decision-making against Australia and South
Africa. Robshaw gathered his players in a huddle at the end and
Lancaster explained the significance.

'Chris was saying that when we turn up for the Six Nations we must make
sure we are at this level and not drop back 10 per cent,' said
Lancaster.

'It is brilliant to get this result but we are on a long-term plan and we have to make sure we back up the performance.

'We didn't quite get across the line with Australia and South Africa but
to get across the line with New Zealand with a young team with 206 caps
in the starting XV is an unbelievable achievement.

Setting nerves jangling: Kieran Read went on the charge for the All Blacks' second try

Setting nerves jangling: Kieran Read went on the charge for the All Blacks' second try

On the charge: Julian Savea scores the first of his two tries to give New Zealand a foothold after half-time

On the charge: Julian Savea scores the first of his two tries to give New Zealand a foothold after half-time

'The win gives the players belief in the direction we are going and the rugby public a sense that this journey is the right one.

'We want to win here and now but we want to build a team for the future
and we have lads like Joe Launchbury and Jon Joseph and Owen Farrell and
Freddie (Burns) who are 21, 22 and 23 years old.

'They should be playing for England for years and we should be sat here
in 10 years time and still have the same group of lads with 800 caps in
our starting XV.'

To their credit New Zealand did not blame the sickness bug which had laid low many of their team in midweek.

When asked if it had a bearing, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said: 'No, I don't think so. If we had fallen away at the end you might have
said that, but we felt fine in that department.

'We just struggled to get into the game. We were on the back foot and
put under pressure. Even when we got back in the game they didn't panic.
I was impressed with the way they played.'

England defence coach Andy Farrell saluted the work of Lancaster and his relationship with his players.

Farrell said: 'This young group has taken a lot of pressure. They have
turned that pressure into a performance everybody in the country can be
proud of.

'Stuart has always had the belief in the players and that has shone for
the last five weeks. The belief these players have from Stuart as their
head guy showed up there today on the pitch. He has led this team
magnificently.'

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree added: 'From the first minute to
the last minute I thought they had their foot on the throat. I'm very
proud of them. A lot of them have single figures in caps but you would
not have thought that.'

Metronomic: Owen Farrell's right boot accounted for 20 points

Metronomic: Owen Farrell's right boot accounted for 20 points

Clearing his lines: Ma'a Nonu kicks under pressure Owen Farrell

Clearing his lines: Ma'a Nonu kicks under pressure Owen Farrell

Saturday debate: Owen Farrell surprise candidate for Player of the Year

Saturday debate: Farrell was a surprise inclusion on shortlist for Player of the Year… who would you have picked

PUBLISHED:

22:52 GMT, 30 November 2012

|

UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 1 December 2012

After Owen Farrell's shock candidacy for the IRB Player of the Year award, we ask a panel of rugby experts who they would choose as their winner for the prestigious award.

ROB WILDMAN Daily Mail rugby reporter
Australia captain Nathan Sharpe: He's postponed retirement to lead the Wallabies in an adverse year hit by injuries to key men like Will Genia and David Pocock.

Sharpe has thrived on the responsibility and guided the Wallabies to a draw against the All Blacks and their satisfying recent win over England at Twickenham.

Surprised Owen Farrell is a shock candidate for Player of the Year

Surprised Owen Farrell is a shock candidate for Player of the Year

STEVE HANSEN All Blacks coach
New Zealand centre Conrad Smith: He is Mr Consistent and not only does a lot of work but it's always tidy work, always in the right place at the right time. Sometimes players like that are overlooked.

JERRY GUSCOTT Ex-England centre, now BBC pundit All Blacks No 8
Kieran Read: the best NZ forward, does everything you want of a back row. Well worth watching today.

LUKE BENEDICT Daily Mail rugby reporter
Wales full back Leigh Halfpenny: Has the same commitment to training as his boyhood idol Jonny Wilkinson and is as metronomic with the boot.

Ever present for Wales during the highs and lows of 2012 – his peerless kicking was essential to their Grand Slam.

His favourite expression is to 'own the skies' and he can jump far higher than his 5ft 10in frame should allow. A truly natural footballer.

Could be: Sportsmail's Luke Benedict believes Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny should have taken the prize

Could be: Sportsmail's Luke Benedict believes Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny should have taken the prize

CONOR O'SHEA Harlequins director of rugby
Ireland flanker Sean O'Brien (right): How about the Leinster star He has been a consistent force for his club in their European Cup success and has also become one of Ireland's best.

He's a terrifically competitive customer, though injury has ruled him out of recent autumn games.

JEFF PROBYN Ex-England prop, talkSPORT pundit
Argentina powerhouse Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe: Fly halves and captains are always getting this award.

Let's go for a forward. Nobody has helped Argentina get into the Rugby Championship more than this back row. His workrate and non-stop style have been brilliant to watch and he has kept a losing team buoyant.

England v New Zealand preview with Ben Kay

England must not be conned by All Black rope-a-dope tactics

|

UPDATED:

23:35 GMT, 30 November 2012

There are a lot of myths about the way the All Blacks play. People have this perception they’re an all-singing, all-dancing team who always have the ball and are always attacking, always expansive.

The truth is different. /11/30/article-2241211-16492714000005DC-110_634x422.jpg” width=”634″ height=”422″ alt=”Dan stays in the picture: The All Blacks most potent weapon, Dan Carter, checks out the news in Sportsmail, including pictures of his day out in London” class=”blkBorder” />

Dan stays in the picture: The All Blacks most potent weapon, Dan Carter, checks out the news in Sportsmail, including pictures of his day out in London

Steve Hansen’s side conceded the second-highest number of penalties and, when it came to time-in-possession stats, they were third of the four teams. The message is clear; it’s not about how much ball they have, it’s about what they do with it.

But there were several areas where the All Blacks were well ahead of the rest – passes completed, number of off-loads, defenders beaten, clean breaks, metres gained and tackle completion, highlighting their clinical work.

For a long time, New Zealand have been the finest counter-attacking side in the world. When they win a turnover, it’s as if they flick a mental switch. They all go up a gear, they raise their intensity levels. More often than not, they will score.

What the All Blacks do well is control and vary their pace. A lot of other nations play at the same high intensity, but they are one-paced, they lack that variety. New Zealand are able to operate and succeed with less possession. Their tackle-completion rates are really good, then when they get the ball, they immediately go up three gears.

Masters of the art: New Zealand are the best counter-attacking side in the world

Masters of the art: New Zealand are the best counter-attacking side in the world

Last weekend, Manu Tuilagi intercepted the ball and broke upfield against South Africa, but England were unable to take the scoring chance. In the same circumstances, the All Blacks would have flicked that switch and scored a try. The initial reaction is crucial. As soon as they see a turnover, the players all quickly get into position and flood through on the right support lines. In contrast, some of the England players might have seen Chris Ashton receive the ball from Tuilagi and subconsciously thought ‘he’s quick’ so they just watched him run.

New Zealand always ensure that as many players as possible work themselves into attacking positions. They would have had someone up in close support of a player in Ashton’s position, ready to take an off-load when he ran hard at the last defender.

Opta stats reveal that, of all the All Blacks tries since the World Cup, 44 per cent start when they regain possession in their own half. With England, that figure drops to about 20 per cent. New Zealand are always alert to potential try-scoring opportunities, even from deep.

It is like rope-a-dope – their ability to soak up pressure and pounce when chances come along. Their belief that they will always find a way to win borders on arrogance.

rugby.jpg

They will look at the opposition and
think, ‘Whatever you do, we will surpass you’, which is the mindset we
had with England in the run-up to the 2003 World Cup. The All Blacks
believe they are bullet proof.

Another advantage they have over England and other sides is an innate willingness to take risks. They have so many supreme physical specimens who can dominate collisions, but they also have the mind-set to play positively – always looking to offload.

In England, if you throw an offload that ‘wasn’t on’, it can lead to heavy criticism and that can make players go into their shells. Perhaps we have to change our national psyche when it comes to risk-taking.

England captain Chris Robshaw has been slated for his decision to go for goal with a late penalty last weekend, but he made the right call. Stats show that from 40 attacking line-outs within 10 metres of the opposition line since the start of 2010, England have scored just four times.

Under pressure: Robshaw will come in for intense scrutiny on Saturday

Under pressure: Robshaw will come in for intense scrutiny on Saturday

If time is almost up, the defending side can keep infringing, knowing that the attacking team need more than a penalty to win the game. They basically have a licence to cheat.

My hope is that Robshaw can block out all the criticism the next time that he faces a similar scenario, but my fear is that all the stick he’s had will affect him.

On this occasion, there are no areas where England have a clear advantage. Rugby is a strange game, so all hope is not lost, but I think the All Blacks will win, say 29-13.

headtohead.jpg

Richie McCaw ready to wreck England hopes

Captain McCaw never forgets the time England actually BEAT the All Blacks…

|

UPDATED:

00:02 GMT, 1 December 2012

Richie McCaw is always a man to fear. On Saturday at Twickenham, he will have more reason than usual to terrorise England.

The New Zealand captain plays his 116th international before taking a six-month sabbatical and will want to sign off with a performance to remember.

He will be aiming for 80 minutes of devastating rugby that lets the All Blacks know what they will be missing.

Modest: Richie McCaw has every reason to perform to his devastating best against England

Modest: Richie McCaw has every reason to perform to his devastating best against England

Rolling on: All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen drives a cart into Twickenham on Friday

Rolling on: All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen drives a cart into Twickenham on Friday

McCaw is too modest to talk about his own impact on the rugby field but he did deliver the ominous message that he is feeling fresh, fit and strong.

The flanker has a long memory and recalls the last time the All Blacks lost to England, in 2003, very clearly.

'There's always a bit of atmosphere around and there's history, too,' he said.

'The first time I played England in 2003, we got knocked over. Then they won the World Cup and since then it meant they were the team to beat.'

The All Blacks' efforts should not be hindered by illness. McCaw reported a clean bill of health for a team hit by a stomach bug earlier this week: 'It might have been interesting if it had been Friday night, not Tuesday night.

'We're lucky it wasn't. It would have knocked the stuffing out of a few guys. Hopefully, it won't take too much out of us.'

There are two secrets to McCaw's decade of dominance as an openside flanker – invisibility and supreme physicality.

He has forever pushed the boundaries of the law at the breakdown, yet has by and large escaped punishment from referees.

His uncanny knack of getting away with it, of pushing gamesmanship to the limit around the ruck, has made him almost unstoppable as the best turnover merchant in the history of the professional game.

Eyes on the ball: Dan Carter hones his kicking skills on Friday

Eyes on the ball: Dan Carter hones his kicking skills on Friday

Fit for purpose: Captain McCaw was in training on Thursday

Fit for purpose: Captain McCaw was in training on Thursday

The second factor is his fitness. The All Blacks do crucifying fitness drills, then McCaw stays behind for extra work.

At the World Cup he was playing with metal pins rattling in a broken foot. His performances during New Zealand's triumphant campaign prompted commentators to say he was a better player on one leg than most players are on two.

At 6ft 1in he is not the biggest, yet there is an aura of you-shall-not-pass about him.

McCaw, helped by a foot operation to heal three broken bones, has pieced himself back together so successfully that he has played a full part in one of the All Blacks' most glorious years, which reaches its finale today.

His goal is to return in the middle of next year refreshed in an attempt to lead the All Blacks in the defence of the World Cup in 2015.

'We are going to give it a good go,' said the 31-year-old modestly about continuing a career that has already made him the most capped New Zealand player.

'But there's a bit of water to f low under the bridge and there are a few coaches who may have a say in the matter. If it doesn't happen, there's nothing lost in trying.'

Another challenge: McCaw's team-mates Ma'a Nonu (left) and Piri Weepu (right) took part in some wheelchair rugby

Another challenge: McCaw's team-mates Ma'a Nonu (left) and Piri Weepu (right) took part in some wheelchair rugby

Like a duck to water: Nonu seemed to be enjoying the variation of his sport

Like a duck to water: Nonu seemed to be enjoying the variation of his sport

McCaw recognises that he has no right to a return. Coach Steve Hansen has made it clear that likely replacement Sam Cane would make sure he would have to be at his best to reclaim his jersey next year.

McCaw's push for perfection has led to him putting on weight this year in an effort to keep up with changing trends in the professional world.

'I was a bit worried if the extra size would affect me but – especially in loose forwards – the game has gone in the direction of guys who can bring something physically.'

Bouncing back: Chris Robshaw hopes to improve on England's performance against Australia

Bouncing back: Chris Robshaw hopes to improve on England's performance against Australia

Flair: Owen Farrell wants to match Carter

Flair: Owen Farrell wants to match Carter

MEANWHILE… ENGLAND'S WOMEN SEEKING ALL BLACKS SCALP
Shiner: Katy McLean

England women's captain Katy McLean, sporting a shiner, hopes to lead her team to a first 3-0 Test whitewash over the All Blacks tonight at Twickenham following the men's Test.

England have won 16-13 and 17-8, but last year also took a 2-0 series lead only to draw the final game. Head coach Gary Street warned: 'The target is to take a 3-0 series win and I am confident we can do that.'

McCaw has also been working on his
ball-carrying skills. His winning desire remains ferocious to the extent
that he is not taking anything for granted today against Chris
Robshaw's England team.

He
was not prepared to criticise Robshaw for the controversy at the end of
last week's South Africa Test when the England captain's decision-
making was questioned by Owen Farrell.

What would McCaw, who has made those calls in 78 games, have done if a New Zealand player had questioned his authority

'Well, you mean one of the boys I run the philosophy that I am more than happy for the guys to speak up, but there comes a time when someone has to make a decision and once it's made you buy into it.'

And on his personal contribution to a great team, he added: 'I look back on this year and feel I've been reasonably consistent.

'There are parts you keep working on but if I look back I'm pretty satisfied.'

England have been warned.

Keven Mealamu warns England that New Zealand are ready

All Blacks are over sickness bug and ready to leave England's series in tatters, warns Mealamu

|

UPDATED:

15:16 GMT, 30 November 2012

New Zealand hooker Keven Mealamu has insisted that the illness which hit nearly all of Steve Hansen’s squad earlier in the week has had no adverse effect on their preparations for Saturday’s final autumn international against England at Twickenham.

Hansen revealed on Thursday that the vast majority of his All Blacks squad had been struck by a 24-hour sickness bug which has caused vomiting and diarrhoea.

But despite confirming that he was one of the players affected by the illness, Mealamu – who starts on Saturday – is confident that the world champions are over the worst of it and are fully prepared for the challenge of taking on Stuart Lancaster’s side.

Ready to roll: Keven Mealamu visited the West London Free School today to teach the Year 8 pupils

Ready to roll: Keven Mealamu visited the West London Free School today to teach the Year 8 pupils

Recovered: New Zealanders Mealamu, Adam Thomson and Tawera Kerr-Barlow sign autographs

Recovered: New Zealanders Mealamu, Adam Thomson and Tawera Kerr-Barlow sign autographs

‘Most of the team have been hit by a bit of a bug, but that is the sort of thing that happens on tour,’ explained the 33-year-old veteran of 101 Tests. ‘I think everyone is just getting over it at the right time though.

‘Everyone is well now and certainly feeling a lot better than we did earlier in the week.

‘I became ill with it for a bit on Tuesday night so it wasn’t a good start to the week, but you just have to get on with it, get on with the job and make sure we get the things we need ready for the weekend.

‘Obviously it is something that has come through the team as a bit of a surprise but we have had to put it aside for a second and make sure we are prepared.’

The All Blacks have not played against England since 2010 – when Mealamu was banned for four weeks for headbutting Lewis Moody – and for six of the starting XV it will be the first time they have played at Twickenham, but Mealamu insists that those who have played at HQ before are just as excited about running out at the iconic stadium on Saturday as the rookies are.

‘All the boys understand the magnitude of where we are playing,’ he enthused. ‘It is honestly one of the greatest places to play rugby. The home of rugby.

‘Whether it’s guys that have played there before or not, we all just can’t wait to get on the field and play.’

Top class: Richie McCaw and the rest of the All Blacks were in training yesterday

Top class: Richie McCaw and the rest of the All Blacks were in training yesterday

Illness: The New Zealand squad were struck down with a sickness bug earlier this week

Illness: The New Zealand squad were struck down with a sickness bug earlier this week

A stalwart of the Kiwi side for 10 years now, Mealamu has had to play second fiddle to Andrew Hore so far during this tour, but with his fellow veteran suspended for five weeks for striking Wales lock Bradley Davies in the 33-10 win in Cardiff last weekend, Mealamu is given the chance to start at Twickenham.

The Auckland Blues hooker – no stranger to controversy himself – sympathises with Hore, but he is understandably delighted to be pulling on the All Black No 2 jersey again.

‘There is nothing worse than watching on the sidelines so I am really looking forward to getting back out there and helping the team out,’ said Mealamu, who was talking after an impromptu kick about with budding rugby players from the West London Free School at Regents Park.

‘I think Andrew and the team understood what happened and what it looked like and we knew what was coming. We all have to take on extra responsibility without him and we have to support him as well.’

Challenge: Tom Youngs (centre) will line up against Mealamu

Challenge: Tom Youngs (centre) will line up against Mealamu

Having seen umpteen Red Rose hookers come and go over the last decade, Mealamu lines up opposite another new face on Saturday in the form of Tom Youngs, the 25-year-old Leicester star who’s performances have been one of the major positives for Lancaster this autumn despite defeats to South Africa and Australia in the last two weeks. Mealamu admits he has been impressed by Youngs’ start to Test rugby.

‘I have had a brief look at him over the last week and I know he has just recently converted from being in the backline, so it is quite a good effort from him to be able to play in the front row now,’ said Mealamu. ‘He has done really well.

Ready England will have to make special plans to stop Dan Carter from running the show

Ready England will have to make special plans to stop Dan Carter from running the show

‘I have been impressed with his work around the field and he is quite a physical player. He looks to hit a lot of the rucks and likes to have ball in hand, so for us we’re looking at him as quite an important player for them.’

Having seen several England sides come and go since his All Blacks debut in 2002, Mealamu – who infamously dislocated Brian O’Driscoll’s shoulder in tandem with Tana Umaga in the first Lions Test in 2005 – is a good judge of a Red Rose XV.

Lancaster’s troops have been criticised for lacking a cutting edge going forward, but Mealamu says he has been impressed with the attacking abilities of what he sees as a team breaking with English traditions.

Limbering up: Ma'a Nonu

Relaxing: Ma'a Nonu and Liam Messam (right)

Limbering up: Ma'a Nonu is put through his paces (left), as he relaxes with Liam Messam (right)

‘We will find out more about this England team in time,’ said Mealamu, who started in last year’s World Cup final over France, ‘I think at the moment they are a team that are still working to get that identity going and put a run of good performances together.

‘But for an England side they use the ball really well. They are quite an exciting side to watch and they look to counter really well and I think comparing to England sides in the past they seem more willing to attack.’

But as impressed as Mealamu may be with England’s ability to attack and counter-attack, there is no better side in the world at those two facets of the game than the All Blacks, who have cruised past Scotland, Italy and Wales so far on tour without ever really hitting top gear.

Bouncing back: Chris Robshaw will hope to end the series on a high against the world champions

Bouncing back: Chris Robshaw will hope to end the series on a high against the world champions

But there is no sign of the All Blacks letting up – illness or no illness.

Hansen has picked the strongest side available to him for Saturday’s game and Mealamu says the side are determined to end their tour on a high.

‘We are happy with what we have been able to achieve so far but the tour is not finished yet, we have got one more job to do so we need to make sure we finish well,’ he said. ‘It all comes down to this last game and how we finish.

‘It is against another big foe of ours and who we enjoy playing against. To be playing England at their home, it is a game you have to come over here and make sure you do well.’

All smiles: Chris Ashton (left) shared a joke in training yesterday

All smiles: Chris Ashton (left) shared a joke in training yesterday

Known for playing with a swagger and verve not seen anywhere else on the planet, and as odds-on favourites, New Zealand could be forgiven for targetting not just a win, but a comprehensive one. But Mealamu is having none of it.

‘It is about winning,’ he said. ‘Whether it comes down to one point or whether it is a bigger margin it doesn’t matter, at the end of the day it is just about winning and that is what we are determined to do.’

England, you have been warned.