Henry rings the changes for All Blacks
September 9, 2010
Piri Weepu has won the race for the No.9 jersey © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Graham Henry has made five changes to his starting team for Saturday night's Tri-Nations finale against Australia in Sydney.
Injury means Aaron Cruden will start at fly-half in place of Daniel Carter, who is recovering from ankle surgery. Israel Dagg replaces Joe Rokocoko on the left wing.
Piri Weepu has won the scrum-half spot ahead of Jimmy Cowan, Victor Vito will replace Jerome Kaino at blindside flanker, and prop Owen Franks starts in place of brother Ben.
Cowan and Kaino have been named on the bench, as has uncapped Canterbury five-eighth Colin Slade, while Rene Ranger comes in as outside back cover and lock Anthony Boric takes the place of Sam Whitelock.
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will lead the side for the 52nd test match, which moves him past Sean Fitzpatrick as the most capped Test skipper in All Blacks history.
Henry said the All Blacks were expecting a strong challenge from the Wallabies, who would take confidence from their 41-39 win against South Africa in Bloemfontein last Sunday.
A win for the All Blacks would see them achieve a record 10 consecutive victories over Australia. They would also become the first team to win all six matches in a Tri-Nations series.
New Zealand: M Muliaina (Chiefs); C Jane (Hurricanes), C Smith (Hurricanes), M Nonu (Hurricanes), I Dagg (Highlanders), A Cruden (Hurricanes), P Weepu (Hurricanes), T Woodcock (Blues), K Mealamu (Blues), O Franks (Crusaders), B Thorn (Crusaders), T Donnelly (Highlanders), V Vito (Hurricanes), R McCaw (Crusaders), K Read (Crusaders)
Replacements: C Flynn (Crusaders), J Afoa (Blues), A Boric (Blues), J Kaino (Blues), J Cowan (Highlanders), C Slade (Crusaders), R Ranger (Blues)