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Mixed bag for All Blacks

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :All Blacks, Original Content on 7 Jun 2013 at 08:57
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has made a few calls ahead of the first test against France this weekend. While he has handed out a first starting test cap to Dane Coles, he has backed Israel Dagg to come good.

Coles, who starts at hooker for the All Blacks ahead of both Keven Mealamu and Andrew Hore, gets his first starting game after a good season with the Hurricanes. Both Mealamu and Hore are at the end of their careers and backing Coles is the right step, according to Hansen.

The big news is that Dan Carter will be out of action for two weeks meaning young Aaron Cruden will start against the French. Cruden has been fantastic for two seasons now and deserves the start, even if it comes as a result of an injury.

Israel Dagg, although looking pretty bad so far this year for the Crusaders, has been backed to deliver against the French. This has resulted in regular fullback Ben Smith starting on the wing, even though he has been the form fullback this season.

From the bench, Ben Afeaki and Jeremy Thrush are expected to make their debuts, both being rewarded for form season’s with their Super Rugby teams. Thrush’s inclusion comes after a fair amount of second row injuries this season.

All Blacks: 1. Wyatt Crockett 2. Dane Coles, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Luke Romano, 5. Brodie Retallick, 6. Liam Messam, 7.Sam Cane, 8. Kieran Read -captain, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Aaron Cruden, 11.Julian Savea, 12. Ma’a Nonu, 13. Conrad Smith, 14.Ben Smith, 15. Israel Dagg
Reserves: 16. Keven Mealamu. 17. Ben Franks, 18. Ben Afeaki, 19. Jeremy Thrush, 20. Victor Vito, 21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22. Beauden Barrett, 23. Rene Ranger.


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