Carter and McCaw return for All Blacks
September 21, 2011
Carter has recovered from a back injury in time to face France this weekend © Getty Images
Dan Carter and Richie McCaw have both been recalled by the All Blacks side for Saturday's Rugby World Cup showdown with France in Auckland.
The line-up shows four changes to the side that crushed Japan 83-7 with flanker McCaw set to win his 100th Test cap after recovering from a minor calf strain. Fly-half Carter reclaims the No.10 shirt having shaken off concerns about a back strain.
However, there is no place for veteran Mils Muliaina with Israel Dagg preferred at fullback after he bounced back from an abdominal strain. Piri Weepu gets the nod at scrum-half with Andy Ellis providing cover on the bench.
All Blacks Coach Graham Henry said: "While there is obviously intense interest in this game because of past Rugby World Cups, the focus for the team is simple. We will have to match the physicality of the French, execute our key roles well and deal with anything unexpected which the French may throw at us.
"The French are a very good side and they often play their very best rugby against the All Blacks. They play with huge passion, lift themselves emotionally and, as always, they can never be underestimated."
The All Blacks and France have played each other four times at the Rugby World Cup with two wins apiece but this is the first time they have met in the pool stages. The All Blacks beat France in the 1987 Final and in the 3rd /4th playoff match in 2003 with France scoring headline-grabbing victories in 1999 and 2007.
New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Richard Kahui; Daniel Carter, Piri Weepu; Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (c), Adam Thomson
Replacements: Andrew Hore, Ben Franks, Ali Williams, Anthony Boric, Andy Ellis, Colin Slade, Sonny Bill Williams
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The fairytale continued right to the end for the magic man." Tom Hamilton reports on the game that saw Brian O'Driscoll bid adieu with the Six Nations title
"It is a sign of how far this England team have come that they looked disappointed at the full-time whistle having just put 52 points on Italy." Tom Hamilton writes
We pick out the a selection of the best photographs from a memorable championship in the Six Nations in pictures
We bring together a selection of the best pictures from the final round of the Six Nations and one which ended in Irish victory