New Zealand recall Waisake Naholo for Georgia clash
Last Updated: 01/10/15 2:54pm
New Zealand winger Waisake Naholo will make his second Test appearance against Georgia at the World Cup on Friday, 10 weeks after breaking his leg.
Seeking a third straight win in Pool C, the All Blacks selected a strong team that included recalls for Richie McCaw as captain and fly-half Dan Carter.
Naholo sustained a hairline fracture to his fibula during debut for New Zealand on July 17 against Argentina in the Rugby Championship.
Treatment for the fracture has included a trip to Fiji for traditional healing from his uncle, including putting leaves on the leg.
The All Blacks rate him so highly that they selected Naholo in the squad despite him being injured.
Coach Steve Hansen said: "We've selected what we think is the best 23 for this test match and reflects where we currently are with our progress in the Rugby World Cup.
"We're looking forward to seeing Waisake back on the track, he's been jumping out of his skin at training and I'm sure he can't wait for game day."
Centre Ma'a Nonu (shoulder), back Colin Slade (hamstring), flanker Liam Messam (calf) and fly-half Beauden Barrett were not considered due to injuries.
"While it's disappointing to have Beauden, Colin, Ma'a and Liam unavailable for selection, their injuries are minor and they're all expected to be available for selection next week," Hansen said.
"Although we don't know a lot about Georgia, we know enough," Hansen added. "They're big, strong athletes and should contribute to what will be a great occasion at Millennium Stadium."
Georgia head coach Milton Haig has rested several first-teamers with one eye on their final group game with Namibia but he insists their focus and ability to give a good showing against the All Blacks remains undiminished.
"We have worked very hard to create depth in our squad and there is not a lot of difference in the players we put out," said Haig.
"We are looking for a bit of energy to face the All Blacks and it is right to make some changes."
New Zealander Haig says he will have no divided loyalties when he leads his side against the country of his birth.
"My loyalty and responsibility is to my team. It will be a special occasion for me and I am looking forward to it."
New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith; 1 Wyatt Crockett, 2 Dane Coles, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Sam Whitelock, 6 Jerome Kaino, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 8 Kieran Read.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 TJ Perenara, 23 Malakai Fekitoa.
Georgia: 15 Beka Tsiklauri, 14 Giorgi Aptsiauri, 13 Davit Kacharava, 12 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Lasha Malaguradze, 9 Giorgi Begadze; 1 Karlen Asieshvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 3 Levan Chilachava, 4 Levan Datunashvili, 5 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 6 Shalva Sutiashvili, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze (c), 8 Lasha Lomidze.
Replacements: 16 Simon Maisuradze, 17 Mikheil Nariashvili, 18 Anton Peikrishvili, 19 Konstantine Mikautadze, 20 Viktor Kolelishvili, 21 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 22 Merab Sharikadze, 23 Murazi Giorgadze.