All Blacks team named for third Australia Test
18 October 2012 Back to Latest News
Keven Mealamu to become just third All Blacks Test centurion
The All Blacks team to play Australia in the third Test against Australia at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, on Saturday 20 October has been named.
The team is as follows: (with Test caps in brackets)
1. Tony Woodcock (91)
2. Keven Mealamu (99)
3. Charlie Faumuina (3)
4. Brodie Retallick (9)
5. Samuel Whitelock (34)
6. Liam Messam (16)
7. Richie McCaw - captain (112)
8. Kieran Read (44)
9. Aaron Smith (9)
10. Daniel Carter (91)
11. Hosea Gear (12)
12. Ma'a Nonu (72)
13. Conrad Smith (62)
14. Cory Jane (37)
15. Israel Dagg (21)
16. Andrew Hore (71)
17. Owen Franks (40)
18. Luke Romano (7)
19. Victor Vito (16)
20. Piri Weepu (65)
21. Aaron Cruden (17)
22. Ben Smith (8)
The highlight of the team announcement is the naming of hooker Keven Mealamu, who will start in what will be his 100th Test for the All Blacks. 33-year-old Mealamu, who has captained the All Blacks in three Tests, is just the third All Black to reach the distinguished milestone, following captain Richie McCaw and fullback Mils Muliaina who played their 100th Tests during last year's Rugby World Cup.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: "On behalf of the All Blacks players and management, I want to congratulate Keven on reaching this very special milestone. 'Kevvy' is a hugely respected man, not only in the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby but also in his wider community; he is a key leader in the team and one of the true gentlemen of New Zealand rugby. I know his family are extremely proud of him and so is his All Blacks family."
Commenting on the upcoming Test, Hansen added: "Playing Australia in Brisbane represents another great challenge for the team and one which we are looking forward to. We have prepared well so far for the Test and, as always, the challenge for the team is not only the opposition, but also meeting our own expectations when it comes to the standard of our performance. Australia sees Suncorp Stadium as their fortress which only enhances the challenge from our point of view."
As well as Mealamu, the starting XV features just one other change from that which started the last Test of the Investec Rugby Championship against South Africa 12 days ago, with prop Charlie Faumuina getting his first Test start, coming in for Owen Franks who moves to the bench.
Other changes on the bench from the South Africa Test see Andrew Hore at reserve hooker; Victor Vito comes in for Adam Thomson as loose forward cover; while Ben Smith replaces Tamati Ellison in the outside back reserve jersey.
Meanwhile, the All Blacks will take a travelling squad of 26 to Brisbane for the Test, with Ellison, Julian Savea, Ben Franks and Sam Cane joining the match-day 22. Thomson and prop Wyatt Crockett will stay in New Zealand and will be available to play for their respective ITM Cup sides in the competition semifinals this weekend.
All Blacks vs Australia - interesting facts
The All Blacks have played Australia 145 times since 1903, with 99 wins to the All Blacks, 41 to Australia and five draws.Daniel Carter scored 17 points in the 22-0 second Test victory over Australia in Auckland earlier this year to reach 304 points against Australia - he's the first player to record more than 300 points against an opponent.