All Blacks team named for Dunedin Test against Australia
The All Blacks side to play their final home Test of the year against Australia at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, on Saturday 19 October has been named.
The starting XV features the return of 43-Test All Black Cory Jane who is back in the national side after recovering from a serious knee injury. In a well-flagged move, Ben Smith moves from the wing into centre taking over from Conrad Smith who is on an extended break; Keven Mealamu starts at hooker, with lock Jeremy Thrush also getting a start and Brodie Retallick moving to the bench. The only other change on the bench sees Tom Taylor come in as one of the back reserves.
The team is (Test caps in brackets):
1. Tony Woodcock (104)
2. Keven Mealamu (108)
3. Charlie Faumuina (13)
4. Jeremy Thrush (3)
5. Samuel Whitelock (47)
6. Liam Messam (26)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (120)
8. Kieran Read (57)
9. Aaron Smith (21)
10. Aaron Cruden (25)
11. Julian Savea (17)
12. Ma’a Nonu (84)
13. Ben Smith (21)
14. Cory Jane (43)
15. Israel Dagg (33)
16. Dane Coles (10)
17. Wyatt Crockett (19)
18. Ben Franks (28)
19. Brodie Retallick (20)
20. Sam Cane (12)
21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (10)
22. Beauden Barrett (13)
23. Tom Taylor (1)
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “It’s great to have Cory Jane back. He has been a world-class performer and we are looking forward to seeing him back in the black jersey. It’s also exciting to have Ben Smith getting his first start at centre for the season.”
The All Blacks clinched the Investec Rugby Championship in their last outing 11 days ago with a 38-27 victory over South Africa, but Hansen said this weekend would bring new challenges.
“We respect the Australians immensely, but we understand that this match not only has the challenge of our opponent, but also one of the biggest challenges in sport, and that is backing up a great performance with another great performance. This is a challenge this team needs and will help define the progress we are making. If we don’t attempt to improve our performance from our last outing, we are vulnerable to being overtaken.”
* New centre Ben Smith has scored five tries against Australia this year. There are only two instances of an All Black scoring six tries against an opponent in a calendar year: Marc Ellis vs Japan at the 1995 Rugby World Cup and John Kirwan against Wales in 1988.
* All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will this weekend play a record 32nd Test match against a single opponent.
* The All Blacks have played Australia 148 times since 1903, with 101 wins to New Zealand, 41 to Australia and six draws. The last match against Australia was the Bledisloe Cup-winning Test in Wellington in August, which the All Blacks won 27-16.
* The All Blacks hold the international record for Test wins: with 385 wins in 507 Tests (for a winning percentage of 75.9 percent).
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