Planet Rugby

McCaw returns to lead New Zealand

14th August 2013 19:01


Richie McCaw All Blacks captain 2013

Back: Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw will complete his return from a six-month sabbatical when he captains New Zealand against Australia on Saturday.

McCaw starts at openside flanker after a steady return to match fitness with a series of brief appearances for the Crusaders, packing down alongside Liam Messam and Crusaders team-mate Kieran Read in the back-row.

Julian Savea starts on the left wing with Aaron Cruden, in for the injured Dan Carter, partnering Aaron Smith at half-back.

Tony Woodcock gets the nod ahead of Wyatt Crockett at loosehead prop, whilst Andrew Hore starts at hooker instead of Keven Mealamu, who is named amongst the replacements.

Flanker Liam Messam was originally named in the starting XV, but withdrew late on Thursday due to a hamstring injury. He will be replaced by Steven Luatua.

Ryan Crotty in the number 23 jersey is the only uncapped member of the squad and could make his debut against the Wallabies in Sydney.

The match will see both sides operating under the new scrummaging laws for the first time, something which All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen addressed earlier in the week.

"They will take some time to bed in, which is to be expected, but we believe they will bring great benefits for the game in the long term," said Hansen.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ryan Crotty.

Date: Saturday, August 17
Kick-off: 20:05 local (11:05 BST, 10:35 GMT)
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Lourens Van Der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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Rugby Championship Table
1New Zealand622
2South Africa619