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All Blacks team named for second Bledisloe Cup Test

allblacks.com     23 Aug 2012    

The team is as follows: (with Test caps in brackets)

Starting XV:

1. Wyatt Crockett (6)
2. Keven Mealamu (94)
3. Owen Franks (35)
4. Luke Romano (2)
5. Samuel Whitelock (29)
6. Liam Messam (11)
7. Richie McCaw - captain (107)
8. Kieran Read (39)
9. Aaron Smith (4)
10. Daniel Carter (88)
11. Hosea Gear (10)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (18)
13. Ma'a Nonu (67)
14. Cory Jane (32)
15. Israel Dagg (16)

Reserves:

16. Andrew Hore (66)
17. Ben Franks (19)
18. Brodie Retallick (4)
19. Victor Vito (14)
20. Piri Weepu (60)
21. Aaron Cruden (11)
22. Ben Smith (5)

There is just one change from last week's starting XV, with prop Wyatt Crockett coming in for the injured Tony Woodcock at loosehead prop.

All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen said, while the All Blacks had been happy with their first-up 27-19 win over the Wallabies in Sydney last weekend, the expectation of the team was to continue to seek improvement in its performance.

"We are expecting that Australia will take a step up in their intensity after last weekend's loss and we will have to be ready for that challenge."

Hansen said the team was excited about playing the first home game of the Investec Rugby Championship in front of a sold-out Eden Park.

"Playing in front of our home crowd is always exciting for the All Blacks. The fans are important to us and getting the opportunity to play a home Test is one we cherish."

Meanwhile, All Blacks squad members Charlie Faumuina, Tamati Ellison and Adam Thomson have been made available to their respective provinces for this week's opening round of the ITM Cup, with All Blacks management keen for the trio to get some game time.

Interesting facts

• Richie McCaw played his 100th Test match last weekend as a starting flanker - the most by any flanker in history and recorded his 95th Test match win - the most by any player in history.
• Keven Mealamu made his 93rd Test match start as a hooker and achieved his 80th victory - both are records by a hooker in international rugby.
• Daniel Carter has scored 17 points in each of his three Test matches so far this year. Those 51 points have taken him beyond 1,300 points in Test matches - 1,301 to be exact.
• The All Blacks have played Australia 144 times since 1903, with 98 wins to the All Blacks, 41 to Australia and five draws.
All Blacks Investec Rugby Championship match schedule
• Australia (ANZ Stadium, Sydney, 8.00PM, Saturday 18 August). All Blacks 27 Australia 19.
• Australia (Eden Park, Auckland, 7.35PM, Saturday 25 August). SOLD OUT!
• Argentina (Westpac Stadium, Wellington, 7.35PM, Saturday 8 September). Get your tickets from ticketek 0800 842 538. TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE.
• South Africa (Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, 7.35PM, Saturday 15 September). Get your tickets from ticketdirect 0800 224 224. EXTRA SEATS!
• Argentina (Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata, 8.10PM, Saturday 29 September)
• South Africa (FNB Stadium 'Soccer City', Johannesburg, 5.00PM, Saturday 6 October)