Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

All Blacks name experienced team

Dan Carter
Dan Carter

New Zealand have included influential trio Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Piri Weepu in their starting XV for Saturday's Tri-Nations decider against Australia.

An experienced side also features a front-row combination of Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu and Owen Franks, who have amassed 183 caps between them.

Brad Thorn and Sam Whitelock combine to form an intimidating tight five, Adam Thomson retains his spot at number six, while captain McCaw returns to the side after missing the game in South Africa. He is joined by Kieran Read, who also missed the trip.

Weepu has been elevated into the starting half-back's role after impressing from the bench. The 47-Test number nine will play a key role in combining with star playmaker Carter, who will look to steer the ship in his 82nd match for the All Blacks.

The experienced midfield combination of Ma'a Nonu (59 caps) and Conrad Smith (48) continues to rumble on, while the left wing-right wing combination of Zac Guildford and Cory Jane will see the innovative and hard-working pair look to set up or finish the All Blacks' attacking opportunities.

Mils Muliaina has retained the starting full-back's role, but with the outstanding Israel Dagg breathing down his neck, the 97-Test veteran will be looking to deliver a consistent performance.

New Zealand team: Mils Muliaina; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Zac Guildford; Dan Carter, Piri Weepu; Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Adam Thomson, Richie McCaw (capt), Kieran Read.

Replacements: Andrew Hore, John Afoa, Ali Williams, Victor Vito, Andy Ellis, Colin Slade, Isaia Toeava.

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