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Henry confident in changed squad

New Zealand coach Graham Henry is confident his squad will be able to win in South Africa on August 20 despite leaving nine key men out for the Tri-Nations game in Port Elizabeth.

Richie McCaw, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Brad Thorn, Kieran Read, Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Mils Muliaina and Sitiveni Sivivatu have all been omitted from Henry's 25-man travelling party.

Henry said: "As with any All Blacks side, the coaches and players set high expectations and the squad which is heading to South Africa is no different. There is real excitement amongst the squad."

He added: "We have players returning from injury who will be playing for the All Blacks for the first time this year, while others will be looking to take the opportunity to stake a further claim in the black jersey and ensure selection in the Rugby World Cup, so we will have a team which is hungry to play well."

The majority of the group will travel to South Africa on Saturday, with the exception of Israel Dagg and Zac Guildford who are due to make the trip on Sunday after playing for Hawke's Bay in their ITM Cup match against Bay of Plenty in Rotorua.

New Zealand squad:

Forwards: John Afoa, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Jarrad Hoeata, Andrew Hore, Jerome Kaino, Keven Mealamu (capt), Liam Messam, Adam Thomson, Samuel Whitelock, Ali Williams, Tony Woodcock, Victor Vito.

Backs: Jimmy Cowan, Israel Dagg, Andy Ellis, Hosea Gear, Zac Guildford, Richard Kahui, Cory Jane, Ma'a Nonu, Colin Slade, Isaia Toeava, Piri Weepu, Sonny Bill Williams.


From Belfast Telegraph