The All Black team to face the Wallabies in the opening fixture of the inaugural Rugby Championship has been named, with the expected centre pairing of Sonny Bill Williams and Ma’a Nonu starting together.
Nonu replaces the injured Conrad Smith, who will miss the first few test matches due to an eye injury. Hosea Gear, Cory Jane and Israel Dagg form a formidable back three, that is sure to give the Australians hell!
Richie McCaw captains the side from the side of the scrum, while Kieran Read returns and Liam Messam completes the loose trio. Luke Romano and Sam Whitelock form a somewhat inexperienced lock combination, given the amount of caps around them.
New Zealand: 15-Isreal Dagg, 14-Cory Jane, 13-Ma’a Nonu, 12-Sonny Bill Williams, 11-Hosea Gear, 10-Dan Carter, 9-Aaron Smith; 8-Kieran Reed, 7-Richie McCaw, 6-Liam Messam, 5-Sam Whitelock, 4-Luke Romano, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Keven Mealamu, 1-Tony Woodcock.
Substitutes: 16-Andrew Hore, 17-Ben Franks, 18-Brodie Retallick, 19-Victor Vito, 20-Piri Weepu, 21-Aaron Cruden, 22-Ben SmithTweet