All Blacks latest – Henry rests big names

Keo.co.za brings you news from the All Blacks camp.

Henry rests big names for Boks – As expected, All Blacks head coach Graham Henry has picked a weakened squad for the team’s trip to South Africa next week.

The Springboks were grilled for sending a ‘B’ team for their away leg of the Tri-Nations after ruling out 23 elite players at the start of the tournament. However, Henry has gone the same route by leaving out skipper Richie McCaw, flyhalf Dan Carter, No 8 Kieran Read, centre Conrad Smith, fullback Mils Muliaina, lock Brad Thorn and prop Owen Franks from his squad. Wing Sitiveni Sivivatu is injured while hooker Corey Flynn has been dropped.

‘We think we’ve got a strong side going to South Africa,’ Henry told the NZ media on Friday. ‘Our expectations are high, we expect to play well and we expect to win. We’re looking after players, so some of the players who’ve travelled a lot are not going. Some of the players who haven’t played a lot are playing, so we’re trying to give players an opportunity and I think that’s very important.’

Big names who return are fullbacks Israel Dagg and Isaia Toeava, prop Tony Woodcock and centre Richard Kahui. No 8 Victor Vito, who was a late call-up in the week, also joins the squad.

The All Blacks will face the Springboks in Port Elizabeth next Saturday (20 August). Keven Mealamu will lead the side in the absence of McCaw.

All Blacks squad for SA tour:
Forwards: John Afoa, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Jarrad Hoeata, Andrew Hore, Jerome Kaino, Keven Mealamu (c), Liam Messam, Adam Thomson, Sam Whitelock, Ali Williams, Tony Woodcock and Victor Vito.
Backs: Jimmy Cowan, Israel Dagg, Andy Ellis, Hosea Gear, Zac Guildford, Richard Kahui, Cory Jane, Ma’a Nonu, Colin Slade, Isaia Toeava, Piri Weepu and Sonny Bill Williams.