After 16 tests for the All Blacks and a stellar tenure with the Highlanders, Lima Sopoaga departed New Zealand shores to take up a contract in England.

With the All Blacks in town to face England at Twickenham on Sunday morning, the former All Black took the opportunity to break down the team for the Telegraph.

15. Damian McKenzie
The electric playmaker brings a different dynamic to the game and is more than capable in the No 15 jersey.

14. Ben Smith
"What's left to say about The Oracle?" Sopoaga asks. Smith doesn't make mistakes and consistently performs when he pulls on the black jersey.


13. Jack Goodhue
Goodhue gets the nod for this clash, which says a lot about the depth of the All Blacks squad when you look at who has missed out.

12. Sonny Bill Williams
Williams is the ultimate professional. Sopoaga said to play alongside him was a special thing.

11. Rieko Ioane
One of the big characters on and off the field for the All Blacks. Able to break the line and score plenty of tries.

10. Beauden Barrett
Forever working to improve his craft - despite being a two-time World Rugby Player of the Year winner. "If there's a one per cent gain to be made Beauden will be working on it," Sopoaga says.

9. Aaron Smith

Rarely puts on a bad performance and has a wealth of experience. With TJ Perenara keeping him on his toes in the No.9 jersey, expect more of the same from Smith.

8. Kieran Read
The side's inspirational and calm leader. Rarely gets rattled by pressure and sure to get the job done.

7. Ardie Savea
More big things are expected of Savea, who hasn't put a foot wrong since being giving the opportunity in Sam Cane's absence.

6. Liam Squire
A monster of a human being in every sense. "He loves the contact (and is) not afraid to put his body on the line," Sopoaga says.

5. Sam Whitelock
Long and rangy, Whitelock an impressive locking tandem with Brodie Retallick. As Sopoaga puts it, "they keep the engine room ticking over."

4. Brodie Retallick
The big lock has an incredible motor and will run for as long as he needs to. Well versed in winning turnovers at the breakdown.

Owen Franks has been a reliable front row option for the All Blacks. Photo / Photosport
Owen Franks has been a reliable front row option for the All Blacks. Photo / Photosport

3. Owen Franks

Dubbed "the most professional footy player the All Blacks have ever had," by Sopoaga.

2. Codie Taylor
Has really stepped up in Dane Coles' absence and made the No 2 jersey his own. Taylor deserves the start, but look for Coles to come tearing on in the final 20.

1. Karl Tu'inukuafe
It's a shame for Joe Moody that he's been ruled out, but Tu'inukuafe is a great replacement. He's had a meteoric rise over the past 12 months and he'll be up for the challenge in the front row.