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All Blacks recall McCaw for RWC quarters

2015-10-15 13:14
Richie McCaw (Gallo Images)

Swansea - New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has recalled captain Richie McCaw for Saturday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final blockbuster against France at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

With France having upset the All Blacks at the 1999 and 2007 World Cups, Hansen has chosen a side rich in experience and including no fewer than four men to have been named World Player of the Year in McCaw, Dan Carter, Brodie Retallick and Kieran Read.

McCaw was rested from the world champions' final pool game against Tonga because of a sore hip but returns at openside flank to win his 146th cap in place of Sam Cane, who drops to the bench.

"All Blacks-French tests are always intense affairs and we expect this weekend to be no different," Hansen said.

"We're at the time in the tournament where the big boys have to step up to the plate and the team that does this the best will move through to the next round. It's as simple as that. We can't wait."

Julian Savea returns on the left wing in place of Waisake Naholo. The explosive Nehe Milner-Skudder is on the opposite wing and fullback Ben Smith completes a potent back three.

Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith reprise their centre partnership, with Sonny Bill Williams named among the replacements for the rematch of the 2011 final.

Carter, who missed New Zealand's triumphant march to the title four years ago because of injury, retains his place at flyhalf to win his 110th cap and Beauden Barrett provides back-up from the bench.

Retallick lines up in the second row with Sam Whitelock, while number eight Read and blindside Jerome Kaino complete the back row with McCaw.

The starting team features only one enforced change from the side Hansen put out in the All Blacks' opening match against Argentina, with Wyatt Crockett replacing Tony Woodcock at prop after the loosehead was ruled out of the tournament by a hamstring injury.

Joe Moody, who came into the squad for Woodcock, starts on the bench and could play his first Test of 2015 against the French.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow, meanwhile, was preferred to TJ Perenara as back-up to scrumhalf Aaron Smith.



15 Scott Spedding, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Alexandre Dumoulin, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Brice Dulin, 10 Frédéric Michalak, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Bernard le Roux, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Eddy Ben Arous

Substitutes: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Nicolas Mas, 19 Damien Chouly, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Remi Tales, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud

New Zealand:

15 Ben Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett

Substitutes 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Sonny Bill Williams

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