New look for All Blacks
New Zealand coach Graham Henry is to hand debuts to Israel Dagg, Benson Stanley and Ben Franks for Saturday's clash with Ireland.
Last Updated: 08/06/10 7:42am
New Zealand coach Graham Henry is to hand debuts to Israel Dagg, Benson Stanley and Ben Franks for Saturday's clash with Ireland in New Plymouth.
The All Blacks have been hit hard by injuries in the run up to the game, with Andrew Hore, Ali Williams, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Mike Delany, Ma'a Nonu, Mils Muliaina, Richard Kahui and Tom Donnelly among those ruled out.
That has forced Henry to blood new talent in the build up to the Tri-Nations, with fellow new-boys Sam Whitelock, Victor Vito and Aaron Cruden named on the bench.
Franks has represented New Zealand in the 2008 tour game against Munster and he will scrum down with brother Owen in the front row against Ireland.
Dagg has been one of the few bright lights for the Highlanders in the Super 14 this season, so he gets his chance at full-back - with Cory Jane moving to the wing.
With a selection headache over the midfield, Stanley - the nephew of former All Blacks centre Joe Stanley - will wear the No.12 shirt after impressing for the Blues.
Despite the new faces, the All Blacks will still have a wealth of experience in their line-up, with the likes of Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Joe Rokocoko, Conrad Smith, Jerome Kaino and Jimmy Cowan named in the starting XV.
And Henry believes the balance of the team is right going into a tough Test against the Irish.
"It's an exciting team that will play the Irish," said Henry.
"We have picked experienced All Blacks together with those players who have been in form throughout the Super 14 and deserve their opportunity at Test level.
"They know the Irish will be a huge challenge but they are looking forward to it."
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg (Highlanders), 14 Cory Jane (Hurricanes), 13 Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), 12 Benson Stanley (Blues), 11 Joe Rokocoko (Blues), 10 Daniel Carter (Crusaders), 9 Jimmy Cowan (Highlanders), 1 Ben Franks (Crusaders), 2 Keven Mealamu (Blues), 3 Owen Franks (Crusaders), 4 Brad Thorn (Crusaders), 5 Anthony Boric (Blues), 6 Jerome Kaino (Blues), 7 Richie McCaw (Crusaders, capt), 8 Kieran Read (Crusaders).
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche (Chiefs), 17 Neemia Tialata (Hurricanes), 18 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), 19 Victor Vito (Hurricanes), 20 Piri Weepu (Hurricanes), 21 Aaron Cruden (Hurricanes), 22 Zac Guildford (Crusaders).