Thursday, August 19, 2010

All Blacks team named for Johannesburg

1. Tony Woodcock (67)2. Keven Mealamu (78)3. Ben Franks (6)4. Brad Thorn (44)5. Tom Donnelly (11)6. Jerome Kaino (31) 7. Richie McCaw – captain (87) 8. Kieran Read (23)
9. Jimmy Cowan (39)10. Daniel Carter (73)
11. Josevata Rokocoko (65)12. Ma’a Nonu (50)13. Conrad Smith (39)14. Cory Jane (19)15. Mils Muliaina (87)
16. Corey Flynn (11)17. John Afoa (23)18. Samuel Whitelock (7)19. Victor Vito (4)
20. Piri Weepu (42)21. Aaron Cruden (5)22. Israel Dagg (4)

The starting XV features just two changes from the team that beat Australia 20-10 in Christchurch earlier this month: Jimmy Cowan returns from injury and starts at halfback, with Piri Weepu moving to the bench, while prop Ben Franks gets his third Test start in the number 3 jersey, replacing younger brother, Owen. Meanwhile, in other reserve changes, prop John Afoa comes onto the bench, with fullback Israel Dagg providing outside back cover.

All Blacks Coach Graham Henry said the All Blacks were expecting to face a “very different” Springboks side from the one that lost two matches in New Zealand in the opening rounds of the Investec Tri Nations.
“They will be hugely motivated to turn around those results and we are expecting a hugely physical encounter,” he said.“Playing the Springboks in Soweto in front of 90-thousand plus fans – it doesn’t get much bigger than this. It’s going to be a marvellous occasion, a massive challenge and one which the team is really looking forward to.”

In milestones for the match, hooker Keven Mealamu will join former All Blacks lock Ian Jones as the joint fifth-most capped All Black. Daniel Carter may become the highest All Blacks points scorer against South Africa: he is currently sitting on 207 points, two behind former All Blacks first five-eighth Andrew Mehrtens. Meanwhile, Josevata Rokocoko (on nine tries) is one try from equalling former All Blacks fullback Christian Cullen’s record (10) of most tries scored against South Africa.

The All Blacks have played South Africa 80 times since 1921 with 44 wins to the All Blacks, 33 to the Springboks, and just three draws. The All Blacks last played South Africa earlier this year in New Zealand in the opening matches of the Investec Tri Nations, beating them 32 – 12 in Auckland and 31 – 17 in Wellington. The two teams last met in South Africa last year in Durban when the All Blacks went down 31 – 19. The last Test between the sides in Johannesburg was in 2004 when South Africa was victorious 40 – 26. The last time the All Blacks won in the city was the 35 – 32 nail biter in 1997.

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