Kiwi wrap (Mon)

Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from New Zealand’s year-end tour.

Weepu to skipper All Blacks

Piri Weepu will lead the All Blacks for the first time when New Zealand face Munster on Wednesday.

Weepu becomes the All Blacks’ 64th captain, while the match also provides an interesting head-to-head with Joe Rokocoko set to face up to his former Auckland Blues team-mate Doug Howlett on the wing.

The All Blacks have decided to give fringe players an opportunity against Munster, with Rokocoko the only member of the All Blacks’ run-on side from Croke Park in the starting line-up.

Coach Graham Henry is looking forward to the game which celebrates the 30th anniversary of Munster’s 12-0 victory over the All Blacks in 1978.

“The Munster match will be a special occasion for the team, and the guys are really looking forward to visiting Limerick,” said Henry. “The team also knows that it will be a hard, physical match against the European club champions.

“The players are also delighted to be heading back to Thomond Park for the official opening of the renovated stadium. It’s a special part of rugby history.”

New Zealand – 15 C Jane, 14 H Gear, 13 A Tuitavake, 12 I Toeava, 11 J Rokocoko, 10 S Donald, 9 P Weepu (c), 8 L Messam, 7 S Waldrom, 6 A Thomson, 5 J Eaton, 4 R Filipo, 3 B Franks, 2 C Flynn, 1 J Mackintosh.
Subs – 16 H Elliott, 17 J Afoa, 18 B Thorn, 19 K Read, 20 A Mathewson, 21 R Kahui, 22 M Muliaina.

Hansen calls for two refs

All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen has called for two referees to be tried in Test match rugby.

Hansen believes the speed that the game is now being played at is too fast for one referee to handle.

While the scrums were the major talking point after the Scotland game, the breakdowns were an area of concern from the win over Ireland with Hansen describing the tackle point as “a bit of a mess”.

New Zealand were also left dumbfounded after a try had not been awarded to Ali Williams.

“I think two referees would be good,” said Hansen. I’m not blaming the ref [Mark Lawrence] for what happened.

“But the game has changed in so many ways. It’s got much faster, there are so many new laws. Yet the one thing that we haven’t changed is the referee. He’s still doing what he has always done.

“I think it might be time to look at saying well, we might need two officials on the park.”

More to follow …