England have the better players but do they have the better team when they match up against the All Blacks in Saturday's Rugby World Cup semifinal.

That's the assessment of former England international Stuart Barnes who has selected a combined New Zealand-England XV for the Times Online.

Barnes has picked eight England players and seven All Blacks in his XV including a complete English front row.

The surprise pick is Ben Smith at fullback, who Barnes calls 'a modern great'. The All Blacks veteran seems to be out of favour with selectors, missing out of the matchday 23 in the quarter-final victory over Ireland.


The other All Blacks named in Barnes' backline are Sevu Reece, Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett, who he has selected at number 10.

"He may be playing fullback at the moment but if he was a better goal kicker this genius would start at ten," Barnes said of Barrett, who has been moved to fullback this season by Steve Hansen following the emergence of first five-eighth Richie Mo'unga.

In the forwards, along with an all-English front row, Barnes selects Maro Itoje over All Blacks captain in waiting Sam Whitelock saying :"One of the world's most inspirational forwards, a leader and a fine lineout forward and he needs to be to edge out the All Black centurion, Sam Whitelock. There's little between these two titans".

For the other lock position, Barnes picked Brodie Retallick calling him "one of the biggest threats to England".

Ardie Savea and Kieran Read were selected in the backrow alongside England number seven Sam Underhill.

Stuart Barnes' All Blacks-England combined team:
15 Ben Smith
14 Sevu Reece
13 Manu Tuilagi
12 Owen Farrell
11 Jonny May
10 Beauden Barrett
9 Aaron Smith
8 Kieran Read
7 Sam Underhill
6 Ardie Savea
5 Brodie Retallick
4 Maro Itoje
3 Kyle Sinckler
2 Jamie George
1 Mako Vunipola