New Zealand All Blacks Rugby News

Henry changes six for France’s return

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All Blacks coach Graham Henry has made six changes to the team that will play France in the return test at the Westpac Stadium, Wellington, on Saturday.

After overcoming a slow start to eventually overrun the French by 42-11 in Auckland last week, Henry still decided to overhaul his side for this week’s outing – making it clear he was always going to give all his players a run in the two-match series against the French.

Jerry Collins, who has recovered from the heel injury that kept him out of last week’s match, takes over at blindside flank from Reuben Thorne, Rodney So’oialo also returns at number eight in place of Chris Masoe.

At lock Keith Robinson gets a run ahead of Chris Jack, while veteran Anton Oliver is in for Keven Mealamu at hooker.

Byron Kelleher has fully recovered from his injury problems and takes over at scrum-half from Piri Weepu, while Aaron Mauger, who scored two tries in the first test, makes way for Luke McAlister at inside centre.

Centre Conrad Smith, who also missed the first test, has recovered sufficiently from a hamstring injury and comes onto the bench. This means Ma’a Nonu, who was on the bench last week, leaves the squad to rejoin the Junior All Blacks in the Pacific Nations Cup.

Utility back Mils Muliaina was not considered because he is still recovering from a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile it was also confirmed that fly-half Dan Carter and captain Richie McCaw have recovered sufficiently from the injuries that saw them hobbling off during the first-half of the first test. Both will start on Saturday.

“We are looking for more improvement this week,” Henry said about the return test.

“Our execution can be better and we can handle stoppages better as well.

“We always wanted to play everyone during the [two-match French] series, plus we have Byron Kelleher and Conrad Smith back from injury, so there have been a number of changes to the starting team.

“At the same time, we’re also trying to give a bit of time out to some players who had long Super 14 campaigns,” Henry added.

New Zealand: 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Josevata Rokocoko, 13 Isaia Toeava, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Byron Kelleher, 8 Rodney So’oialo, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Keith Robinson, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Anton Oliver, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Neemia Tialata, 18 Chris Jack, 19 Chris Masoe, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Nick Evans, 22 Conrad Smith

Date: Saturday, 9 June
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington,
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Touch judges: Stuart Dickinson (Australia), Paul Marks (Australia)
Television match official: Matt Goddard (Australia)
Assessor: Brendan McCormick (Australia)

 

365 Digital

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