Twelve changes from All Blacks

Date published: September 22 2015

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Sam_Cane_in_action_for_New_Zealand

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has made 12 changes to his team to face Namibia in the Pool C clash at the Olympic Park on Thursday.

Only Sam Whitelock, Julian Savea and Nehe Milner-Skudder retain their position in the starting line-up that faced Argentina at Wembley last week.

TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett are the half-back pairing while Sonny Bill Williams and Malakai Fekitoa start at centre, with Colin Slade at full-back.

Elsewhere there are starts for Victor Vito, Sam Cane, Liam Messam, Luke Romano, Charlie Faumuina, Codie Taylor and Ben Franks. Cane is captain.

If Richie McCaw comes on as a replacement, it will be his eighteenth RWC outing, breaking the record of seventeen he now shares with Sean Fitzpatrick.

There are 660 caps' worth of experience on the All Blacks' bench (average 83) and also three test centurions (Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu and McCaw).

Three of the All Blacks' replacement players have 100-plus Test caps, which is a record for a Rugby World Cup bench. Before this match, no team had ever named more than one centurion on their bench in a Rugby World Cup fixture.

New Zealand: 15 Colin Slade, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Tony Woodcock, 19 Kieran Read, 20 Richie McCaw, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Ma'a Nonu, 23 Ben Smith.

Date: Thursday, September 24
Venue: The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London
Kick-off: 20:00 local (19:00 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Mathieu Raynal (France)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

COMMENTS