All Blacks bring back old guard
August 4, 2011
Brad Thorn comes back into the side in place of Sam Whitelock © Getty Images
New Zealand coach Graham Henry has rung the changes ahead of Saturday's Tri-Nations clash with Australia while Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has opted for the same XV which beat the Springboks a fortnight ago.
The All Blacks will hope to extend their 25-year unbeaten run at Eden Park over the Wallabies and have re-called luminaries Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Brad Thorn, Kieran Read, Piri Weepu, Hosea Gear and Sitiveni Sivivatu for the clash.
Prop Franks comes into the side in place of his brother Ben while Mealamu replaces Andrew Hore - who will hope to make an impact from the bench. Thorn replaces Sam Whitelock while Kieran Read comes into the side in place of Adam Thomson. Weepu steps into the void left by Jimmy Cowan while Sivivatu and Gear replace Cory Jane and Zac Guildford respectively.
The Test also provides a milestone for the All Blacks centre partnership of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith who will set a new record having played 29 Tests together. Dan Carter, meanwhile, will earn his 82nd cap against the Wallabies and joins the list of the top five most capped All Blacks.
The Wallabies, on the other hand, have opted to keep the same XV which so ably despatched the Springboks a fortnight ago 39-20. There are changes on the bench, however, with halfback Luke Burgess, lock Dan Vickerman and winger Lachie Turner all talking their place. Instead of the five-two split between forwards and backs which Deans favoured two weeks ago, the inclusion of Turner and Burgess means the split is now four-three.
Flanker Rocky Elsom will continue in his role as captain while Deans will hope the Reds pairing of Quade Cooper and Will Genia will provide enough fire power to prevent the All Blacks adding to their 25-year unbeaten record in Auckland over their antipodean counterparts.
New Zealand: Mils Muliaina, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Hosea Gear, Dan Carter, Piri Weepu; Wyatt Crocket, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Ali Williams, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read
Replacements: Andrew Hore, Ben Franks, Sam Whitelock, Adam Thomson, Andy Ellis, Colin Slade, Sonny Bill Williams
Australia: Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Rob Simmons, James Horwill, Rocky Elsom (c), David Pocock, Ben McCalman
Replacements: Saia Fainga'a, Pek Cowan, Dan Vickerman, Scott Higginbotham, Luke Burgess, Anthony Fainga'a, Lachie Turner
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament