All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen is expecting plenty of emotion from England loose forward Brad Shields when he lines up at Twickenham on Saturday.

“He is going to be lining up facing the haka, facing the team that he has always wanted to play for and unfortunately we didn’t pick him. For his sake when I say ‘unfortunately’, and now he has got the opportunity to play against them,” Hansen told Fairfax.

“Some of his great mates are in that team. I think he will find that emotional, probably more so than Mitch [former All Blacks coach John Mitchell].”

Shields grew up in New Zealand with a dream of representing the All Blacks, and represented the country at Under 20 level. After failing to achieve test honours with the All Blacks, Shields switched his allegiance to England – the country where both of his parents were born – and signed with Premiership club Wasps.

Video Spacer

Now 27-year-old Shields – who captained the Hurricanes Super Rugby side in 2018 – will be up against former teammates TJ Perenara, Dane Coles, Beauden Barrett and Ardie Savea.

“I don’t know how I feel about it,” Barrett explained. “It is going to be weird. Hopefully I don’t see him out there too much, because he is a big brute and he will probably try and line me up.

“I am sure there will be a bit of banter when Colesey runs on. He will throw a few words at him, no doubt.”

Hansen stands by his assessment of how Shields will feel when he plays against his old friends.

“He will deal with it in his own way but it will tug at his heart strings,” Hansen said. “As I said, he wouldn’t be human if it didn’t.”

Shields has now made four test appearances after getting dispensation to appear during their June international series against South Africa.


He made 100 appearances for the Hurricanes from 2012 to 2018.

In other news:

Video Spacer

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now