IN SELECTING the side, the All Blacks coaches have gone for experience as well as the introduction of the three new caps.
In the forwards, the All Blacks have the experienced front row of Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock and Owen Franks, while new cap Brodie Retallick will join his locking partner Sam Whitelock in the second row. Victor Vito has taken over the number six jersey, captain Richie McCaw is at openside flanker and Kieran Read at number eight.
In the backs, halfback and new cap Aaron Smith will have Daniel Carter outside him, while Sonny Bill Williams and Conrad Smith will form a partnership in the centres. Zac Guildford and new cap Julian Savea are the wings, with Israel Dagg at fullback.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen congratulated the three new caps on their selection in the starting XV.
“We picked them in the Steinlager Series squad because they have all shown that they have special qualities which they now get the opportunity to show on the international stage.”
Hansen said there has been real excitement in the camp this week.
“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.
“It’s shaping up to be another fantastic occasion at Eden Park. And we’re really hoping it’s a sell-out with a blacked-out and vocal crowd. The All Blacks love playing at the ground and the team certainly appreciates the support.”
New Zealand v Ireland
Saturday, 9 June 2012 at Eden Park
Kick-off: 08:35 [BST]
15. Israel Dagg, 14. Zac Guildford, 13. Conrad Smith, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Julian Savea *, 10. Daniel Carter, 9. Aaron Smith *, 1. Tony Woodcock, 2. Andrew Hore, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Brodie Retallick *, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Victor Vito, 7. Richie McCaw [C], 8. Kieran Read
16. Hikawera Elliot, 17. Ben Franks, 18. Ali Williams, 19. Adam Thomson, 20. Piri Weepu, 21. Aaron Cruden, 22. Ben Smith
* denotes a new capLike Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.