Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All Blacks team named for second Test against Wales

All Blacks Coach Graham Henry and his Assistant Coaches Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith have named their team to for the second Test against Wales in the Steinlager Series at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, on Saturday 26 June.

Starting XV:
1. Tony Woodcock (62) 2. Keven Mealamu (73) 3. Neemia Tialata (42)4. Brad Thorn (39) 5. Tom Donnelly (6)6. Jerome Kaino (26)7. Richie McCaw – captain (82) 8. Kieran Read (18)
9. Jimmy Cowan (35) 10. Daniel Carter (68)
11. Zac Guildford (3)12. Benson Stanley (2) 13. Richard Kahui (9) 14. Cory Jane (14) 15. Mils Muliaina (82)

16. Aled de Malmanche (4) 17. Owen Franks (11)18. Sam Whitelock (2) 19. Adam Thomson (16)
20. Piri Weepu (36) 21. Aaron Cruden (2) 22. Rene Ranger *
* Denotes new Test cap
Number of Test caps in brackets

The key feature of the squad is the selection of Blues and Northland centre / wing Rene Ranger on the bench. 23–year–old Ranger, who has previously trained with the All Blacks, has been called in to the All Blacks squad as injury cover for fullback Israel Dagg (concussion) and Conrad Smith (eye).

In the starting XV, Richard Kahui, who came off the bench on the weekend, slots in at centre, 82–Test veteran Mils Muliaina is back from his calf strain to take his place at fullback, and Zac Guildford, who came off the bench against Ireland, is on the left wing.In the forwards, 62–Test loosehead prop Tony Woodcock returns to the front row with Neemia Tialata at tighthead.

Tom Donnelly, who has recovered from his calf injury, replaces the injured Anthony Boric (cheekbone) at lock, while Jerome Kaino is at blindside flanker.

Commenting on the inclusion of Rene Ranger, All Blacks Coach Graham Henry said: “With both Conrad and Israel unavailable through injury, Rene now gets his chance at Test level. He was a stand-out player in the Rebel Sport Super 14 (where he was one of the leading New Zealand try scorers with seven tries) and he was also impressive for the Barbarians against New Zealand Maori.”

The All Blacks beat Wales 42-9 on the weekend in the final ever Test at Carisbrook. Henry said while they were delighted with the result, the All Blacks weren’t expecting the Welsh to be any easier this weekend.
“They will come out firing again this weekend so we will have to be ready to meet them. They are a proud rugby side and we are expecting another physical Test match at Waikato Stadium.”

With last weekend’s 42–9 win over the weekend, the All Blacks extended their record against Wales to 23 wins in 26 Tests since 1905.

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