Wednesday 17 January 2018

Read back for All Blacks as Henry reaches century

Graham Henry will take charge of his 100th All Blacks Test match when New Zealand conclude their World Cup Pool A campaign against Canada in Wellington tomorrow.

New Zealand have won 84 and lost 15 of their games during Henry's reign, and they remain clear favourites to lift the World Cup for the first time since 1987.

"It's a privilege to be involved in the most successful sporting team in the history of sport over 110 years," Henry said. "It is special, and I am proud to be a part of it.

"And to do that 100 times is also special -- but probably a sign of madness as well. It is a reflection on what the management team and the leaders in the team have done over these last eight years to keep me in a job."

Henry has recalled full-back Mils Muliaina for his 99th cap and switched Israel Dagg to the wing, although Henry denied it was a sentimental selection as Muliaina closes in on a century of Test appearances. "No, not at all," he added. "Mils is part of this group. He has been an outstanding player and he needs to play.

"Israel has been playing very well and he got player of the day last week (against France), but Mils has played 98 games for the All Blacks and has been an outstanding All Black for a long time."

Elsewhere, No 8 Kieran Read returns from injury to make his first tournament start, with Zac Guildford on the wing, as the All Blacks target a fourth successive bonus point victory ahead of a probable quarter-final against Argentina next weekend.

Read joins Jerome Kaino and captain Richie McCaw, who is set to win his 101st cap, in the back-row. It will be Read's World Cup debut and wing Zac Guildford is included for his maiden tournament appearance.

Keven Mealamu drops to the bench, with Andrew Hore coming in at hooker, lock Brad Thorn is rested, with Ali Williams starting in his place, and Sonny Bill Williams starts in place of Ma'a Nonu, who is rested.

Scrum-half Jimmy Cowan will win his 50th cap in place of Piri Weepu, who is named on the bench.

NEW ZEALAND -- M Muliaina; I Dagg, C Smith,

SB Williams, Z Guildford; D Carter, J Cowan; T Woodcock,

A Hore, O Franks; S Whitelock A Williams; J Kaino, R McCaw (capt), K Read. Reps: K Mealamu, B Franks, B Thorn, A Boric, P Weepu, C Slade, I Toeava

CANADA -- M Evans; C Trainor, DTH Van Der Merwe, R Smith, P Mackenzie; A Monro, E Fairhurst; H Buydens, P Riordan, J Marshall; J Sinclair, J Cudmore; A Kleeberger, C O'Toole, A Carpenter. Reps: R Hamilton, S Franklin, A Tiedemann,T Hotson, N Dala, S White,N Hirayama.

Ref -- R Poite (FRA)

New Zealand v Canada, Live, tomorrow, Setanta Ire & UTV, 3.30am

Irish Independent

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