SBW, Cruden to start for NZ

2014-10-30 07:47
Sonny Bill Williams (Getty)

Wellington - The All Blacks recalled star flyhalf Dan Carter and code-hopping star Sonny Bill Williams Thursday but dropped captain Richie McCaw in a makeshift matchday squad to face the United States in Chicago.

World record points-scorer Carter, who has been out with a broken leg, was named among the reserves as Aaron Cruden gets his chance at fly-half following his exile over a drinking incident.

They were among 12 changes to the 15 who started against Australia two weeks ago as coach Steve Hansen's world champions face the 18th-ranked Americans at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears NFL team.

Only fullback Israel Dagg, wing Cory Jane and stand-in captain Kieran Read survive in a team consisting largely of fringe players and reserves.

The coach said he wanted to use all 34 players in his squad for the tour, which also includes Tests against England, Wales and Scotland.

"While we are giving a number of players another opportunity this weekend, our expectation is that they will play to the highest level and we get a quality performance," he said.

Williams was named in the centres alongside Ryan Crotty as he returns to the fold ahead of next year's World Cup, after spending two years playing rugby league in Australia.

Cruden starts at flyhalf ahead of Carter on the bench, ending his exile after he got drunk and missed the team plane to Argentina last month.

Carter's presence gives the sell-out 61 500 crowd the chance to see one of rugby union's most marketable, but injury-prone, players. He has not played for his country since breaking his leg in the Super 15 final in August.

In the forwards, Joe Moody, Nathan Harris, Charlie Faumuina, Jeremy Thrush and Patrick Tuipulotu were all given a run, while Victor Vito returns from injury.

TJ Perenara starts at scrumhalf, though promising youngster Augustine Pulu has the chance to win his debut Test cap from the bench.

McCaw was given a rest ahead of what are likely to be more demanding fixtures later in the tour.

Hansen said the Test would take place in front of the largest rugby union crowd ever seen in the United States.

"This is going to be an exciting occasion for the team, playing the USA in front of a record crowd here in Chicago, and it's great to be here representing the All Blacks and New Zealand," he said.


United States: TBA

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Joe Moody.

Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Daniel Carter, 23 Julian Savea

Read more on:    all blacks  |  sonny bill williams  |  rugby

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