All Blacks team named to face South Africa in Semi-Final at RWC 201500:00:00, Thu 22 Oct 2015 New Zealand Rugby
The All Blacks side has been named to play South Africa in their Rugby World Cup 2015 semifinal at Twickenham, London, on Saturday 24 October (Kick-off: 4.00PM).
The team is:
1. Joe Moody (9)
2. Dane Coles (34)
3. Owen Franks (76)
4. Brodie Retallick (45)
5. Samuel Whitelock (71)
6. Jerome Kaino (65)
7. Richie McCaw (146) — captain
8. Kieran Read (82)
9. Aaron Smith (45)
10. Daniel Carter (110)
11. Julian Savea (39)
12. Ma’a Nonu (101)
13. Conrad Smith (92)
14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (6)
15. Ben Smith (46)
16. Keven Mealamu (130)
17. Ben Franks (45)
18. Charlie Faumuina (31)
19. Victor Vito (32)
20. Sam Cane (29)
21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (19)
22. Beauden Barrett (34)
23. Sonny Bill Williams (31)
The team features just one change from last Saturday’s quarter-final: Joe Moody replaces the injured Wyatt Crockett (groin) in the starting line-up, and fellow prop Ben Franks moves onto the bench.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “We’ve had a great preparation so far this week. We’ve put a full stop on last weekend’s performance and have been slowly building throughout the week to produce another game we can all be proud of.
“Though we’ve met many times over the years, we’ve only played three times at the Rugby World Cup and these Cup finals matches are totally different. They have a live or die nature to them and both teams will be desperate to advance.
“As a group we’re really looking forward to this challenge. It will require a massive amount of intensity and composure and accurate skill execution. This team has high expectations of itself and enjoys the big occasions.
“We’re all very much looking forward to Saturday. It’s the fun part of the week where we get to express our skills, physicality and mental strength; all things we’ve been working really hard on this week.”
Steve Hansen has also acknowledged the fantastic amount of support the All Blacks have received throughout the Rugby World Cup.
“On behalf of the team, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank all our families, fans and supporters, both here in the UK, at home and around the world. Their support has not gone unnoticed by the team. We’re very grateful to be able to represent them and our country and we’ll be endeavouring to once again make them all proud.”
Key points of interest
• The All Blacks matchday 23 for the Test against South Africa has an average age of 28 and has 1,318 Test caps of experience.
• The All Blacks and South Africa have met three times at Rugby World Cups: in the 1995 Final, the bronze match in 1999 and the quarterfinal in Australia in 2003.
• This weekend’s the two great rivals will be playing their 91st Test match: the All Blacks record stands at 52 wins, 35 losses and three draws.
• Wing Julian Savea has scored eight tries at this year’s Tournament, a single Tournament record equal with All Blacks great Jonah Lomu and South Africa’s Bryan Habana.
• Eight of the All Blacks will extend their records as the most capped All Blacks in their position this weekend: Richie McCaw (openside flanker), Keven Mealamu (hooker), Owen Franks (tighthead prop), Kieran Read (number eight), Jerome Kaino (blindside flanker), Daniel Carter (first five-eighth), Ma’a Nonu (second five-eighth) and Conrad Smith (centre).