Monday 19 March 2018

Carter recalled as All Blacks eye series whitewash against France

New Zealand have recalled fit-again fly-half Dan Carter and scrum-half Piri Weepu for the final Test against France in New Plymouth on Saturday.

With the series in the bag after a 23-13 victory in Auckland and a 30-0 stroll in Christchurch, All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has also brought in Rene Ranger on the wing, while giving blindside flanker Victor Vito his first start of the year in the game at Yarrow Stadium.

"While the series has been won, we certainly won't be underestimating the French in this final match," said Hansen.

"We have put a full stop in last weekend's performance and we're expecting further improvement from ourselves, and another hard, physical contest from the French."

Carter missed the first two Tests with a broken hand and returns to give Aaron Cruden a much-needed rest.

Weepu is back after suffering concussion in the Auckland Blues' Super Rugby defeat to the Highlanders in Dunedin earlier this month.

Hooker Dane Coles misses out with a calf strain and is replaced by Andrew Hore. Keven Mealamu is the reserve hooker.

New Zealand (v France) – I Dagg; B Smith, C Smith, M Nonu, R Ranger; D Carter, P Weepu; K Read (capt), S Cane, V Vito, S Whitelock, L Romano, O Franks, A Hore, W Crockett.

Replacements: K Mealamu, T Woodcock, B Franks, S Luatua, M Todd, T Kerr-Barlow, B Barrett, C Piutau.

Irish Independent

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