All Blacks name team for Bledisloe Cup Sydney Test     19 Aug 2009    

All Blacks Coach Graham Henry and his Assistant Coaches Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith have named the All Blacks team to play the Investec Tri Nations - Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia at ANZ Stadium, Sydney, on Saturday 22 August.

1. Tony Woodcock (55 Tests)
2. Andrew Hore (40)
3. Owen Franks (4)
4. Brad Thorn (30)
5. Isaac Ross (6)
6. Jerome Kaino (20)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (73)
8. Kieran Read (9)
9. Jimmy Cowan (25)
10. Dan Carter (59)
11. Sitiveni Sivivatu (37)
12. Luke McAlister (27)
13. Conrad Smith (28)
14. Josevata Rokocoko (57)
15. Mils Muliaina (74)


16. Aled de Malmanche (1)
17. John Afoa (17)
18. Jason Eaton (12)
19. Rodney So’oialo (58)
20. Brendon Leonard (11)
21. Stephen Donald (14)
22. Ma’a Nonu (39)

“It doesn’t get much bigger than this,” said All Blacks Coach Graham Henry. “The Bledisloe Cup is on the line and it’s really a win or lose match in the Investec Tri Nations so that makes it an exciting challenge for us.”

Key features of the Test starting XV are the return of Dan Carter in his 60th Test, with Luke McAlister getting his second Test start of the year outside Carter at second five-eighths, in his 28th Test. The inclusion of Carter and McAlister sees Stephen Donald and Ma’a Nonu move to the bench. Carter, who will be playing his 14th Test against Australia, has scored 153 points against the trans-Tasman foes and is third on the All Blacks list behind Andrew Mehrtens (202) and Grant Fox (159). In the forwards, Kieran Read gets his fifth Test start in his 10th Test, picked at number eight, with Rodney So’oialo on the bench.

Meanwhile, All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina reaches a special milestone this weekend, playing in his 75th Test, while Richie McCaw will again captain the All Blacks for the 36th time in his 74th Test.

It’s also a milestone Test for the All Blacks coaching trio of Graham Henry, Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen, with the coaches taking charge of their 70th All Blacks Test, in what has been a hugely successful coaching career.

The trio have coached the All Blacks to 58 victories in 69 Tests, for a winning record of 84 percent. The All Blacks have also retained the Bledisloe Cup since 2003, won the Tri Nations every year since 2005 and achieved a 3 – 0 Test sweep of the British and Irish Lions in 2005.

The All Blacks have played Australia 133 times since 1903 with 89 wins to the All Blacks, 39 to Australia and five draws. The All Blacks won the last Test 22 -16 in last month’s Investec Tri Nations competition opener in Auckland and also won the last Test in Australia, the 28-24 win in Brisbane during last year’s Tri Nations.

The Test at ANZ Stadium this weekend kicks off at 8.00pm (10.00pm NZT). The Wallabies then play two home Tests against South Africa in Perth (29 August) and Brisbane (5 September) before the Wallabies and Springboks head to New Zealand for the final matches in the Investec Tri Nations, with the All Blacks playing South Africa at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton on 12 September and Australia at Westpac Stadium, Wellington on 19 September.