Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

All Blacks opt against Thomson inclusion

New Zealand have decided not to recall flanker Adam Thomson for Saturday's Test match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

Thomson is available after serving a one-week one ban imposed after he was cited for stamping on Scotland forward Alasdair Strokosch's head at Murrayfield 11 days ago.

But the International Rugby Board has now appealed what it describes as the leniency of that sanction, and the All Blacks coaches did not consider him for this weekend's clash.

Thomson was not involved in last Saturday's encounter against Italy in Rome. He was yellow-carded for the Strokosch incident, and subsequently cited, which meant him appearing before independent judicial officer Jean Noel Couraud.

He decided on an initial two-week suspension, but that was then cut in half due to Thomson's good conduct at the hearing. The IRB said on Wednesday night, though, that they would appeal the Thomson outcome.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has still selected a side containing 745 caps that includes star players Dan Carter and Richie McCaw returning as the world champions seek a 25th successive victory over Wales, stretching back 59 years. Wales, in contrast, will go into the game on the back of successive home defeats against Argentina and Samoa.

Thomson apart, hooker Keven Mealamu was not considered because of a calf muscle injury, while Tamati Ellison (toe) and Beauden Barrett (ribs) are also out.

Hansen, a former Wales coach, said: "We have known since the World Cup that this would be the game that they would be targeting in this autumn series, so any recent performances or results won't have any bearing on this match."

New Zealand team to play Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday: I Dagg; C Jane, C Smith, M Nonu, J Savea; D Carter, A Smith; T Woodcock, A Hore, O Franks, L Romano, S Whitelock, L Messam, R McCaw (capt), K Read.

Replacements: D Coles, W Crockett, C Faumuina, B Retallick, V Vito, P Weepu, A Cruden, B Smith.


From Belfast Telegraph