All Blacks name four new caps
October 18, 2009
Zac Guildford has been called in to the All Blacks squad © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Graham Henry has included four new caps in his end-of-year tour squad, as well as recalling three former All Blacks recently returned from injury.
The new caps are lead by prolific Hawkes Bay wing Zac Guildford, who has scored 13 Air New Zealand Cup tries after starring at the Junior World Championship. He is joined by Bay of Plenty fly-half Mike Delany, Otago utility Ben Smith and Wellington's Tamati Ellison. Recalls are handed to North Harbour's Anthony Boric, Canterbury hooker Corey Flynn and his team-mate Andy Ellis, a scrum-half.
Guildford's celebrations will be bittersweet after a difficult year. His father died of a heart attack in the stands as he starred for New Zealand in the final of the Junior World Championship.
Henry's selection was influenced by injuries, and as expected lock Isaac Ross has been left at home in order to bulk up. Ross played the All Blacks' first eight Tests of the year but was left out for their last Tri-Nations Test against the Wallabies in favour of Tom Donnelly. Injury forced Henry to exclude Piri Weepu (ankle), Isaia Toeava (pelvis), Lelia Masaga (shoulder), Keven Mealamu (chest), Bryn Evans (back), Richard Kahui (shoulder) and Ali Williams (Achilles).
"We believe he's got things he needs to work on to be a better player. We've learned about that during his time with us in the All Blacks," Henry said of Ross. "If he's going to be a strong scrummager and better at the cleanout part of the game, he needs some time out of the game to develop the strength to be able to do that. He'll come back a better player and be highly competitive at international level."
The All Blacks kick off their tour with a Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Tokyo, followed by showdowns with Wales on November 7, Italy on November 14, France on November 21, England on November 28 and the Barbarians on December 5.
New Zealand: John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Dan Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Wyatt Crockett, Mike Delany, Stephen Donald, Tom Donnelly, Jason Eaton, Andy Ellis, Tamati Ellison, Corey Flynn, Owen Franks, Zac Guildford, Andrew Hore, Cory Jane, Jerome Kaino, Tanerau Latimer, Brendon Leonard, Luke McAlister, Richie McCaw (c), Liam Messam, Mils Muliaina, Ma'a Nonu, Kieran Read, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Rodney So'oialo, Adam Thomson, Brad Thorn, Neemia Tialata, Tony Woodcock
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall
John Griffiths digs into the distant past to try to establish the identity of an England international whose life is a virtual mystery