Kiwis set to hand out three debuts
June 6, 2012
Aaron Smith looks set to start for the All Blacks © Getty Images
The All Blacks are set to hand out three Test debuts when they face Ireland on Saturday, according to reports.
All Blacks boss Steve Hansen, according the New Zealand Herald, is expected to start scrum-half Aaron Smith, second-row Brodie Retallick and flyer Julian Savea against Ireland with all three featuring in a shadow Test line-up during training. With Cory Jane and Richard Kahui sidelined, Zac Guildford looks set to get the nod on the wing.
Ahead of the Test with Ireland, one man who both Ma'a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams have their eyes firmly set on is talismanic outside centre Brian O'Driscoll. O'Driscoll has featured sparsely this season for Leinster, due to injury, but was a key component of the side that dismantled Ulster in the Heineken Cup final. For Williams, O'Driscoll is Ireland's main attacking threat.
"O'Driscoll is always the danger man. Absolutely. He's done well since he came back," said Williams. "It's going to be a tough challenge but hopefully we can play a style of footie that is entertaining but a winning style as well."
His sentiments are echoed by Nonu who said: "O'Driscoll is going great. He always turns out. He's such a great player, that I admire. I've been watching him for a long time and always seems to turn up at the right time, especially for Leinster. The older he gets, the better he gets."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9