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All Blacks team to play Ireland named.

allblacks.com     18 Nov 2010    

The team to play Ireland is:

Starting XV

1. Tony Woodcock (72)
2. Hikawera Elliot (1)
3. Owen Franks (20)
4. Brad Thorn (49)
5. Tom Donnelly (14)
6. Jerome Kaino (36)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (92)
8. Kieran Read (28)
9. Andy Ellis (16)
10. Daniel Carter (77)
11. Hosea Gear (4)
12. Ma’a Nonu (54)
13. Conrad Smith (43)
14. Cory Jane (21)
15. Mils Muliaina (92)

Reserves

16. Andrew Hore (48)
17. John Afoa (28)
18. Anthony Boric (18)
19. Liam Messam (6)
20. Alby Mathewson (3)
21. Stephen Donald (21)
22. Sonny Bill Williams (2)

Number of Test caps in brackets

The starting XV features five changes from the team that beat Scotland 49 – 3 last week: lock Tom Donnelly gets his first start since the All Blacks Test against Australia in Hong Kong, Jerome Kaino returns to blindside flanker with Liam Messam moving to the bench, Andy Ellis, who came off the bench last week, starts at halfback, Ma’a Nonu returns to his familiar number 12 jersey partnering Conrad Smith in the centres with Sonny Bill Williams on the bench, while Cory Jane has recovered from his chest and shoulder injuries and will start on the right wing.

Graham Henry said: “One of the aims of this tour is to build the foundations of the team for the future so there have only been a few changes from the team that beat Scotland. We were pleased with the physicality and accuracy shown against the Scots and we will look to improve on that this weekend. However, the team also knows they will up against a very good Irish team which they respect.”

As well as McCaw and Muliaina’s milestone, lock Brad Thorn will play his 50th Test in an All Blacks career which began back in 2003. Meanwhile, the All Blacks reached several milestones in last weekend’s Test match: Daniel Carter’s try gave the All Blacks exactly 12,000 points in their 470 Tests – and they finished the match with 12,037 points (the All Blacks have scored an average of 25.6 points in all Test matches). As well, Carter now has 1158 points in Test matches – just 20 points short of Jonny Wilkinson’s 1178 points. The win in Scotland was also Graham Henry’s 99th Test victory (76 with the All Blacks, 22 with Wales and one with the British & Irish Lions).

The All Blacks have played Ireland 23 times since 1905 with the Irish yet to win a Test. The last Test against Ireland was the Steinlager Series Test in New Plymouth earlier this year, which the All Blacks won 66 – 28. The All Blacks last played Ireland in Dublin in 2008 at Croke Park with the All Blacks 22–3 victors on that occasion.