Brodie Retallick and Michael Hooper square up during a Bledisloe Cup encounter last year.

Brodie Retallick and Michael Hooper square up during a Bledisloe Cup encounter last year. Photo: Getty Images

If England's goal was for an anonymous build-up to the first Test against New Zealand on Saturday, it appears to have been a success.

Brodie Retallick, the All Blacks lock, remarkably could not manage to correctly name a single member of Stuart Lancaster's squad yesterday, despite being in the side that crashed to a record defeat at Twickenham in December 2012, New Zealand's sole defeat since winning the World Cup the previous year.

Retallick's gaffe may have inadvertently handed Lancaster the centrepiece of his team talk ahead of Saturday's Test at Eden Park in Auckland with the lock's public declaration of his ignorance of the make-up of the touring party.

Faux pas: Brodie Retallick of the Chiefs and All Blacks.

Faux pas: Brodie Retallick of the Chiefs and All Blacks. Photo: Getty Images

If it appeared to underscore a sense of a lack of knowledge about the northern hemisphere game in the All Blacks camp, it also brought a touch of hilarity to the build-up.

Retallick initially claimed to know "a couple" of members of the England squad but when pressed for a name, he added: "Michael Lawes", presumably a reference to Courtney Lawes, the Northampton lock.

Lawes arrived in Auckland yesterday after starring for Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership final victory over Saracens, but he is unavailable for the first Test.

New Zealand remain overwhelming favourites with the bookmakers to open the three-Test tour with a victory on Saturday, despite the loss of No 8 Kieran Read, who has been withdrawn from the game after showing symptoms of concussion.

Read, the International Rugby Board player of the year, played his first game on Saturday since suffering concussion in April, but said he woke up on Monday "not feeling the best". Jerome Kaino or Victor Vito could replace Read, while Steven Luatua has been drafted into their training squad.

Lancaster will name his starting XV tomorrow with Billy Twelvetrees set to be ruled out having failed to train this week as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Kyle Eastmond is expected to take Twelvetrees's place at inside centre despite not playing since April while Freddie Burns is set to start at fly-half ahead of Danny Cipriani with Premiership finalists Owen Farrell and Stephen Myler missing and George Ford ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, Stephen Ferris, the Ulster, Ireland and Lions flanker, insists he is leaving rugby with no regrets after confirming his retirement due to injury.

The Telegraph, London