New All Blacks to face O'Gara and Co.
June 8, 2010
Connacht skipper John Muldoon is in at the deep end this weekend © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Graham Henry has named three new caps to face Ireland in New Plymouth on Saturday.
Highlanders fullback Israel Dagg, Blues centre Benson Stanley and Crusaders loose-head Ben Franks have all been given the nod to start while Victor Vito, Sam Whitelock and Aaron Cruden are primed for Test bows off the bench.
It will be s special day for Franks, with his brother Owen starting in the No.3 jersey. The duo will become the first brothers to represent New Zealand in the same side since Robin and Zinzan Brooke in 1997.
Ronan O'Gara has seen off the challenge of Jonathan Sexton and will start at fly-half for Ireland. The veteran Munster pivot will play his 99th Test for Ireland, having lost his place to Sexton in the second half of the Six Nations. The Leinster youngster has only recently returned from a broken jaw and was prevented from taking part in last week's loss to the Barbarians by an infection in his mouth close to where he had surgery.
O'Gara is partnered by Munster team-mate Tomas O'Leary, with Eoin Reddan beating Peter Stringer to a place on the bench. Connacht duo John Muldoon and Sean Cronin will play by far the biggest game in their young Test careers. Muldoon, the standout performer against the Baa Baas, starts in place of the injured Stephen Ferris at blindside while Cronin deputises for Jerry Flannery and Rory Best at hooker.
New Zealand: I Dagg (Highlanders); C Jane (Hurricanes), C Smith (Hurricanes), B Stanley (Blues), J Rokocoko (Blues); D Carter (Crusaders), J Cowan (Highlanders); B Franks (Crusaders), K Mealamu (Blues), O Franks (Crusaders), B Thorn (Crusaders), A Boric (Blues), J Kaino (Blues), R McCaw (Crusaders, capt), K Read (Crusaders).
Replacements: A de Malmanche (Chiefs), N Tialata (Hurricanes), S Whitelock (Crusaders), V Vito (Hurricanes), P Weepu (Hurricanes), A Cruden (Hurricanes), Z Guildford (Crusaders)
Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster); R O'Gara (Munster), T O'Leary (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), S Cronin (Connacht), J Hayes (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), M O'Driscoll (Munster), J Muldoon (Connacht), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: J Fogarty (Leinster), T Buckley (Munster), D Tuohy (Ulster), S Jennings (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster), G Murphy (Leicester)
"I had a couple of injuries before but this was different." Tom Hamilton talks to Scott Williams about the O'Driscoll tackle, Wales and Scarlets
"To be the best it's not about the flash stuff, it's actually about everything done at a very high level." Tom Hamilton on the England squad
Huw Richards rewinds to 1864 to mark the birth of Welsh rugby's first authentic star - Arthur Gould
Michael Cheika has succeeded in becoming the Wallabies coach under his own terms, writes Greg Growden