Pool A – Dagg to front Tonga

Keo.co.za brings you the latest World Cup news from Pool A.

Dagg to front Tonga – Israel Dagg will start for the All Blacks at fullback this Friday while veteran Mils Muliaina has been left out of the match 22.

Jerome Kaino returns to the side after missing the Tri-Nations finale two weeks ago. Victor Vito will start at No 8 in the absence of Kieran Read while Sam Whitelock has been listed as loose forward cover. Andrew Hore is selected at hooker with Keven Mealamu left out of the squad.

In the backs, Jimmy Cowan rejoins Dan Carter at halfback while Sonny Bill Williams gets his chance at No 12. Henry has rejigged his backline by moving Ma’a Nonu to No 13, while the selections of Isaia Toeava and Richard Kahui on the wings offer the back division plenty of attacking options.

New Zealand:
1. Tony Woodcock
2. Andrew Hore
3. Owen Franks
4. Brad Thorn
5. Ali Williams
6. Jerome Kaino
7. Richie McCaw (c)
8. Victor Vito
9. Jimmy Cowan
10. Daniel Carter
11. Isaia Toeava
12. Sonny Bill Williams
13. Ma’a Nonu
14. Richard Kahui
15. Israel Dagg
Replacements:
16. Corey Flynn
17. Ben Franks
18. Anthony Boric
19. Sam Whitelock
20. Piri Weepu
21. Colin Slade
22. Cory Jane

Tonga rule out haka face-off – Tonga captain Finau Maka says the visitors will not perform the Sipi Tau at the same time as New Zealand’s haka in Friday’s World Cup opener at Eden Park.

It made for one of the most awesome spectacles in rugby when Tonga and New Zealand simultaneously performed their respective war dances before a match at the 2003 World Cup. When Tonga were drawn in the same pool as New Zealand in the 2011 tournament, most fans would have been hoping for a repeat of what transpired at the 2003 competition..

Maka, however, believes that each team should be afforded an opportunity to lay down the challenge.

‘I get more from the haka by watching it and accepting the challenge,’ said Maka. ‘I also think it is more respectful that they are both done in their turn.’

Tonga performed the Sipi Tau for the mass of fans that greeted them at the Auckland airport, and many times before they departed for the tournament.

‘We’ve been doing it the last two weeks in Tonga,’ said Maka. ‘The public there is crazy, every day we did it two, three times a day. It’s preparing to go into war. I think it’s the same as Ka Mate so it’s quite significant.’