Three debutants for All Blacks
Auckland - Wing Julian Savea, scrumhalf Aaron Smith and lock Brodie Retallick
will make their Test debuts for the All Blacks on Saturday when the
World Cup champions start a three-Test rugby series against Ireland.
trio was included Thursday in the first test team announced by newly
appointed New Zealand coach Steve Hansen. It will be New Zealand's first
Test since beating France 8-7 in last year's Rugby World Cup final.
has also picked Sonny Bill Williams ahead of Ma'a Nonu at inside
centre, ending the partnership with Conrad Smith, New Zealand's most
experienced midfield combination. Victor Vito has claimed the blindside
flank role left by Jerome Kaino's departure for Japan.
coach Declan Kidney later named two new caps in his lineup for the
match. Wing Simon Zebo, the youngest member of the Irish squad at 22,
will make his debut along with tighthead prop Declan Fitzpatrick, who
replaces the injured Mike Ross.
Veteran centre and captain Brian
O'Driscoll will return from injury to form a new midfield partnership
with Keith Earls in an Ireland team which has an average age of 26.
Jonathan Sexton starts at flyhalf with veteran Ronan O'Gara on the
Dan Tuohy will make his first starting appearance for
Ireland at lock, two years after making his Test debut against New
Zealand as a replacement.
Hansen took over as All Blacks coach
after acting as an assistant for seven years under Graham Henry, who
stepped down after the World Cup victory last October. Hansen has begun
his reign as head coach with a relatively conservative selection,
working his three new caps into a framework of massive experience.
Richie McCaw will make his 104th Test appearance, extending his record
as New Zealand's most-capped player, and Carter will become the
country's most capped No 10 when he plays his 71st Test at flyhalf.
The frontrow of Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore and Owen Franks has a combined 176 Tests.
who plays for Highlanders, was chosen ahead of Piri Weepu with the
World Cup-winning scrumhalf on the bench following a Super Rugby season
in which he was hampered by a lack of fitness and form. Smith was
preferred to Test players Andy Ellis and Jimmy Cowan.
earned his first Test call-up after an outstanding season for the
Hurricanes. The 21-year-old former New Zealand sevens player is 1.90
metres tall and weighs 104 kilograms and has pace as well as strength.
21-year-old Retallick steps into the vacancy left by the departure for
Ireland of Brad Thorn. He will become the second youngest All Blacks
lock, two days older than Mark Cooksley, who was 21 years, 7 days old
when he made his debut in 1992.
Hansen said the three newcomers had earned their Test debuts due to their form throughout the Super Rugby season.
picked them because they have all shown that they have special
qualities, which they now get the opportunity to show on the
international stage," he said. "The build-up so far this week has been
good. With such a short preparation time, we have focused on keeping
things simple and bringing the team together.
"We have been
concentrating on making sure we have clarity early in the week,
increasing intensity and accuracy as the week goes on, which should
allow us to put in a performance that we can be proud of on Saturday."
has been given a rare opportunity to start in an All Blacks backline,
breaking up Nonu's partnership with Smith. Nonu has been out of form
this season after transferring from the Hurricanes to the Blues, who are
last in the Super Rugby.
Vito has the first chance to lay claim to the No 6 jersey after being chosen ahead of Adam Thomson.
Guildford, who plays on the left wing for the Crusaders, has been
picked on the right wing in the absence of Cory Jane and Richard Kahui,
who are both injured. He will play his ninth Test after confronting the
alcohol issues which cost him his place last year.
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Zac Guildford, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill
Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran
Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Victor Vito, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4
Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16 Hikawera Elliot, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Adam
Thomson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Ben Smith
15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O'Driscoll
(captain), 12 Keith Earls, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor
Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Donnacha
Ryan, 4 Dan Touhy, 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy
Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Donncha
O'Callaghan, 19 Kevin McLaughlin, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O'Gara,
22 Darren Cave