Hoeata set to face Fijians
July 21, 2011
Jarrad Hoeata will make his All Blacks debut against Fiji © Getty Images
Taranaki lock Jarrad Hoeata is set to make his All Blacks debut alongside a returning Ali Williams for New Zealand's one-off Test against Fiji in Dunedin on Friday night.
Included in the All Blacks' Tri-Nations squad after impressing for the Highlanders in this year's Super Rugby competition, Hoeata will partner 61-Test veteran Williams in the second row for the first time. A series of injuries have prevented Williams playing at Test level since late 2008.
Others returning to the All Blacks Test team for the first time since 2009 are Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett and Highlanders wing Ben Smith. The team will be captained by flanker Richie McCaw while his Crusaders team-mate Dan Carter has been named on the reserves bench, with Colin Slade starting the match at first five-eighth. It will be Slade's first run-on start in his second Test.
Fiji have been forced into several changes. No.8 Sisa Koyamaibole misses the one-off Test due to a two-week suspension that followed his sending off during his side's controversial IRB Pacific Nations Cup clash with Japan last weekend. Centre Seru Rabeni also saw red in that match and was also banned and subsequently dropped from the 35-man squad for this game and the Punjas Test Series against Tonga in August.
Prop Graham Dewes, another player to have helped Fiji to the 2007 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals, is also facing a battle to make this year's tournament having been left out of the latest squad. Both Rabeni and Dewes have been sent back to their respective clubs and while they remain in the mix, their World Cup chances now look remote.
Fiji have also been denied the services of lock Leone Nakarawa who has been barred from entering New Zealand because he is in the Fijian army. New Zealand has imposed travel sanctions against Fiji, refusing visas to members of the military and their families, since a 2006 coup.
New Zealand: Mils Muliaina, Zac Guildford, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Colin Slade, Jimmy Cowan, Wyatt Crockett, Andrew Hore, Ben Franks, Jarrad Hoeata, Ali Williams, Adam Thomson, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam
Replacements: Corey Flynn, John Afoa, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Piri Weepu, Dan Carter, Ben Smith
Fiji: Iliesa Keresoni, Timoci Nagusa, Albert Vulivuli, Ravai Fatiaki, Napolioni Nalaga, Seremaia Baikeinuku, Nemia Serelevu; Campese Ma'afu, Sunia Koto, Deacon Manu (c), Sekonaia Kalou, Rupeni Nasiga, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Akapusi Qera, Sakiusa Matadigo,
Replacements: Viliame Veikoso, Setefano Somoca, Josefa Domolailai, Malakai Ravulo, Vitori Buatava, Taniela Rawaqa, Vereniki Goneva
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Aus)
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