Rugby

McCaw to lead NZ for 100th time

2014-11-20 07:23
Richie McCaw (AFP)

Cardiff - Richie McCaw will become the first player to captain an international team in 100 Tests after New Zealand coach Steve Hansen reverted to virtually his first choice selection to face Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

McCaw, who first captained the side against Wales in Cardiff on November 20, 2004, played blindside flank last week against Scotland but has switched back to his normal role in the number seven jersey for his 137th test.

Beauden Barrett has won the hotly contested battle for the starting flyhalf position, with Hansen opting not to give world leading points scorer Daniel Carter another run after his rusty performance last week against Scotland.

Aaron Cruden, who had started the majority of the Tests this year in Carter's absence, also failed to make the squad as Hansen said he wanted to give Barrett an opportunity to start a test on their four-game tour.

"We're using this tour to find out more about the guys we've got," Hansen told New Zealand media in Cardiff.

"We've seen Crudes on this tour in one of the big games against England and we wanted to see Beauden against one as well."

The 32-year-old Carter has barely played this year after a six-month break from the game and an injury-enforced absence from a broken leg.

He looked rusty last week against Scotland in his first start for the team in a year and Hansen said it was a major reason why he was not considered.

"If he had come through the other day probably a little bit better he might have been on the bench," Hansen added.

"But it's impossible to ask a guy who has played the amount of rugby he's had to not be rusty. It was a big ask.

"For him it's great that he's got confidence that his body is right, we've got confidence his body is right.

"He just needs to go home now and play some Super Rugby and lots of it."

Teams:

Wales:15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Jake Ball, 3-Samson Lee, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James

Substitutes: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 James Hook, 23 Liam Williams

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Charles Piutau, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 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 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Liam Messam, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Colin Slade, 23-Ryan Crotty

Read more on:    all blacks  |  richie mccaw  |  rugby
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