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Savea, Smith and Retallick to make debut against Ireland

allblacks.com     07 Jun 2012    

The team is as follows: (with Test caps in brackets. * denotes a new cap)

Starting XV:

1. Tony Woodcock (83)
2. Andrew Hore (62)
3. Owen Franks (31)
4. Brodie Retallick *
5. Samuel Whitelock (25)
6. Victor Vito (13)
7. Richie McCaw - captain (103)
8. Kieran Read (36)
9. Aaron Smith *
10. Daniel Carter (85)
11. Julian Savea *
12. Sonny Bill Williams (14)
13. Conrad Smith (55)
14. Zac Guildford (8)
15. Israel Dagg (12)

Reserves:

16. Hikawera Elliot (2)
17. Ben Franks (15)
18. Ali Williams (73)
19. Adam Thomson (24)
20. Piri Weepu (56)
21. Aaron Cruden (9)
22. Ben Smith (2)

In selecting the side, the All Blacks coaches have gone for experience as well as the introduction of the three new caps.

In the forwards, the All Blacks have the experienced front row of Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock and Owen Franks, while new cap Brodie Retallick will join his locking partner Sam Whitelock in the second row. Victor Vito has taken over the number six jersey, captain Richie McCaw is atopenside flanker and Kieran Read at number eight.

In the backs, halfback and new cap Aaron Smith will have Daniel Carter outside him, while Sonny Bill Williams and Conrad Smith will form a partnership in the centres. Zac Guildford and new cap Julian Savea are the wings, with Israel Dagg at fullback.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen congratulated the three new caps on their selection in the starting XV.

"We picked them in the Steinlager Series squad because they have all shown that they have special qualities which they now get the opportunity to show on the international stage."

Hansen said there has been real excitement in the camp this week.

"The build-up so far this week has been good. With such a short preparation time, we have focused on keeping things simple and bringing the teamtogether.

"We have been concentrating on making sure we have clarity early in the week, increasing intensity and accuracy as the week goes on, which should allow us to put in a performance that we can be proud of on Saturday.

"It's shaping up to be another fantastic occasion at Eden Park. And we're really hoping it's a sell-out with a blacked-out and vocal crowd. The All Blacks love playing at the ground and the team certainly appreciates the support."

A huge crowd of 40,000 plus will attend Saturday night's Test, with tickets still available from ticketmaster.co.nz or 0800 111 999.

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Interesting facts

When he takes the field on Saturday, Brodie Retallick will become the second youngest lock in All Blacks history, just two days older than lock Mark Cooksley who was 21 years seven days old when he made his All Blacks debut in 1992.

Daniel Carter will set another record in his stellar career this weekend, becoming the most capped All Blacksfirst five-eighth in history. He will play his 71st Test (of his 86 Tests overall) in the number ten position on Saturday, with all his other Test appearances coming in other backline spots.