The New Zealand team to play Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 5.30pm) shows six changes to the side that started last weekend’s 49-3 victory over Scotland.
Saturday’s GUINNESS Series match will see New Zealand’s long-serving captain Richie McCaw and full-back Mils Muliaina play their 93rd Tests, becoming the most capped All Blacks of all time, after equalling former skipper Sean Fitzpatrick’s record at Murrayfield last Saturday.
Head coach Graham Henry has tweaked his team, with three of the six personnel changes coming in the back-line.
Cory Jane has recovered from chest and shoulder injuries to start on the right wing, Ma’a Nonu replaces recent debutant Sonny Bill Williams at centre and Andrew Ellis comes in to partner Dan Carter at half-back.
In the forwards, lock Tom Donnelly gets his first start since last month’s clash with Australia in Hong Kong, while Jerome Kaino returns to the blindside flanker berth with Liam Messam dropping to the replacements bench.
Commenting on the team selection, Henry said: “One of the aims of this tour is to build the foundations of the team for the future so there have only been a few changes from the team that beat Scotland.
“We were pleased with the physicality and accuracy shown against the Scots and we will look to improve on that this weekend. However, the team also knows they will up against a very good Irish team which they respect.”
Lock Brad Thorn was poised to play his 50th Test in an All Blacks career which began back in 2003. However, a hamstring strain has forced him out of the initially selected team.
With the 35-year-old Thorn ruled out, Anthony Boric slots into the second row and Sam Whitelock, who made a try-scoring debut against Ireland last June, has been added to the replacements.
NEW ZEALAND Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2010 GUINNESS Series, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, November 20, kick-off 5.30pm):
15. Mils Muliaina (Waikato/Chiefs)
14. Cory Jane (Wellington/Hurricanes)
13. Conrad Smith (Wellington/Hurricanes)
12. Ma’a Nonu (Wellington/Hurricanes)
11. Hosea Gear (Wellington/Hurricanes)
10. Dan Carter (Canterbury/Crusaders)
9. Andrew Ellis (Canterbury/Crusaders)
1. Tony Woodcock (North Harbour/Blues)
2. Hikawera Elliot (Hawke’s Bay/Chiefs)
3. Owen Franks (Canterbury/Crusaders)
4. Anthony Boric (North Harbour/Blues)
5. Tom Donnelly (Otago/Highlanders)
6. Jerome Kaino (Auckland/Blues)
7. Richie McCaw (Canterbury/Crusaders) (capt)
8. Kieran Read (Canterbury/Crusaders)
16. Andrew Hore (Taranaki/Hurricanes)
17. John Afoa (Auckland/Blues)
18. Sam Whitelock (Canterbury/Crusaders)
19. Liam Messam (Waikato/Chiefs)
20. Alby Mathewson (Wellington/Hurricanes)
21. Stephen Donald (Waikato/Chiefs)
22. Sonny Bill Williams (Canterbury/Crusaders)