Steve Hansen names All Black squad for first test against the French

Out of form Crusader Israel Dagg will start at fullback this weekend in the All Blacks’ first match in a 3 match series against France. Dagg’s inclusion means that Ben Smith, one of the standout players of the 2013 Super Rugby season has to move from his preferred position at the back onto the wing.

Hansen is banking on Dagg’s big match temperament and hints that the intensity of test rugby will help him find some much-needed form.Teamsheets

Notable inclusions/News:

  • Aaron Cruden starts at flyhalf in place of Dan Carter  who has a hand injury
  • Piri Weepu and Tony Woodcock were not considered because of injury
  • Kieren Read captains the side in the absence of regular skipper Richie McCaw
  • Jeremy Thrush and Ben Afeaki (both on the bench) are the only uncapped players in the match-day 22

New Zealand – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Subs: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 *Ben Afeaki, 18 Ben Franks, 19 *Jeremy Thrush, 20 Victor Vito, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett*, 23 Rene Ranger.




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