Rugby World Cup 2011
McCaw ready to lead All Blacks
Richie McCaw (File)
Auckland - The All Blacks made three changes in their side and retained injured skipper Richie McCaw for this weekend's World Cup semi-final against Australia at Eden Park.
New Zealand also named Aaron Cruden at flyhalf, Israel Dagg at fullback and Richard Kahui returns to the wing.
Cruden is the All Blacks' third flyhalf of the World Cup after tournament-ending groin injuries to Dan Carter and Colin Slade.
Dagg returns from injury to replace injured Mils Muliaina at fullback, while Kahui ousts Sonny Bill Williams on the left wing.
McCaw has not trained this week as he rests his injured foot to enable him to take part in Sunday's big match against the Wallabies.
"Richie hasn't trained this week and the more we keep him off his foot the more chance of him playing 80 minutes for us this weekend," coach Graham Henry said.
"He's upheat but frustrated and we have to make pragmatic decisions with it. Richie's not pushing it so he can play this weekend."
McCaw's presence is vital for the All Blacks who are already without their match-winning flyhalf Carter.
"The guys are quieter than normal," Henry said. "This is the biggest game these guys have played for 10 years."
The All Blacks have lost two of their last three encounters with the Wallabies, including the Tri-Nations decider in Brisbane.
But the Wallabies have not won at the All Blacks' citadel at Eden Park for 25 years.
"Australia is a big brother to us in many ways, but it's a positive relationship and it brings the best out of New Zealanders," Henry said.
"We know them and they know us well and there's a lot of rivalry."
In other changes on the bench, Andy Ellis and Stephen Donald come in and Sonny Bill Williams was named as the third back replacement in a four-three split.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Richard Kahui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Brad Thorn, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony WoodcockAustralia:
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Sonny Bill Williams
Beale/Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam
Ashley-Cooper/Anthony Fainga'a, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade
Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom; 5
James Horwill (captain), 4 Dan Vickerman, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen
Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu
Subsitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Rob Simmons,
19 Ben McCalman, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Berrick Barnes, 22 Anthony
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