McCaw skippers All Blacks against Baa Baas
December 2, 2009
Richie McCaw starts against the Barbarians © Getty Images
Richie McCaw will lead New Zealand against a star-studded Barbarians line-up at Twickenham on Saturday.
The All Black skipper is one of only two survivors from the side that routed France in Marseille last weekend, with Wellington's Cory Jane the other. He shifts from wing to fullback as Ben Smith and Zac Guildford are drafted in out wide.
Stephen Donald starts at fly-half, with back-up on the bench from Mike Delany, and is partnered by his domestic team-mate Brendon Leonard. Those given a rest for the final week of tour were Dan Carter, Mils Muliaina, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Kieran Read, Jerome Kaino, Tom Donnelly, Tony Woodcock and Owen Franks.
While the match is undoubtedly a lucrative money-making venture for the New Zealand Rugby Union at the end of a marathon season, there is plenty at stake for several players.
The likes of Donald, Leonard, flanker Liam Messam and lock Jason Eaton haven't nailed their test opportunities in 2009 and will want to keep their names fresh in the coaches' minds heading into next year's Super 14.
"That's my recommendation to the players, to build up like it's a Test match because we're playing a world-class team, some of the best players in the world and that's a great opportunity to show that you've got it," said All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith. "One of the stated objectives of the tour was to put yourself in line for selection for the future, so this is a big game from that perspective.
"It's not a Test match. It's a Barbarians game and both teams have a responsibility to honour that and play an attacking game. But you don't want to lose your structure to the point it becomes chaotic."
New Zealand: Cory Jane, Ben Smith, Tamati Ellison, Luke McAlister, Zac Guildford; Stephen Donald, Brendon Leonard; Wyatt Crockett, Corey Flynn, John Afoa, Jason Eaton, Anthony Boric, Liam Messam, Richie McCaw (captain), Rodney So'oialo
Replacements: Andrew Hore, Neemia Tialata, Adam Thomson, Tanerau Latimer, Jimmy Cowan, Mike Delany, Sitiveni Sivivatu.
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