Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from Pool A.
Mils booted, McCaw and Carter return – Mils Muliaina is omitted from New Zealand’s match 22 to play France while Richie McCaw returns from injury to play his 100th Test.
Dan Carter is also in the mix for the Auckland clash after injury ruled him out of the last Test against Japan. Muliaina, capped 98 times, is omitted from the squad and is now in danger of not becoming a Test centurion, with Dagg exhibiting far superior form and no room on the wood for the veteran.
Piri Weepu starts at scrumhalf, with Andy Ellis as cover. Jimmy Cowan is the loser in that closely contested battle. Locks Ali Williams and Anthony Boric are both on the reserve bench, leaving them short of specialist loose forward cover in the form of Vito.
‘While there is obviously intense interest in this game because of past Rugby World Cups, the focus for the team is simple,’ coach Graham Henry said.
‘We will have to match the physicality of the French, execute our key roles well and deal with anything unexpected which the French may throw at us. They are a very good side and they often play their very best rugby against the All Blacks. They play with huge passion, lift themselves emotionally and, as always, they can never be underestimated.’
The winner of Saturday’s match is likely to face Argentina in the quarter-final, while the loser expected to play Scotland.
All Blacks - Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Richard Kahui, Dan Carter, Piri Weepu, Adam Thomson,Richie McCaw (c), Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodock.
Subs: Andrew Hore, Ben Franks, Ali Williams, Anthony Boric, Andy Ellis, Colin Slade, Sonny Bill Williams.