Carter returns, Williams misses out
October 28, 2010
Sonny Bill Williams will have to wait to make his test debut © Getty Images
Star fly-half Dan Carter returns but Sonny Bill Williams will have to wait to make his Test debut after being left out of the All Blacks squad to take on Australia in Hong Kong on Saturday.
Williams has dominated the headlines since being included in Graham Henry's tour squad but his omission shows the rugby league convert still has a way to go to prove himself worthy of a place in the world's number one side.
Carter's return after ankle surgery is one of four changes from the XV that beat the Wallabies 23-22 in Sydney last month as Henry picked his strongest possible team. Jerome Kaino is back at blindside flanker, Jimmy Cowan is in at scrum-half and Joe Rokocoko will win his 67th cap on the wing.
Those changes were all expected as Sydney starters Piri Weepu and Israel Dagg miss the tour through injury, while Carter's return comes at the expense of the axed Aaron Cruden.
Unlike Williams, hooker Hika Elliot could make his test debut off the bench if called upon. The fourth Bledisloe also represents a Test comeback for Daniel Braid, who has been selected as specialist back-up for captain Richie McCaw. If he comes on it will be just the flanker's fifth cap since debuting against Wales in 2002.
Experienced utility Isaia Toeava will cover the outside backs from the bench instead of Williams, a logical move since he can readily cover the wing and fullback positions along with outside centre. Scrum-half Alby Mathewson could add to his one cap if he comes off the bench.
New Zealand: M Muliaina (Waikato); C Jane (Wellington), C Smith (Wellington), M Nonu (Wellington), J Rokocoko (Auckland); D Carter (Canterbury), J Cowan (Southland); T Woodcock (North Harbour), K Mealamu (Auckland), O Franks (Canterbury), B Thorn (Canterbury), T Donnelly (Otago), J Kaino (Auckland), R McCaw (Canterbury, captain), K Read (Canterbury)
Replacements: H Elliot (Hawke's Bay), J Afoa (Auckland), S Whitelock (Canterbury), D Braid (Auckland), A Mathewson (Wellington), S Donald (Waikato), I Toeava (Auckland)
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