New Zealand boss Steve Hansen has recalled his big guns ahead of their clash with France this weekend in Paris. He has put his faith in experience, and named the most capped All Black team in history.
There are three test centurions – Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock – giving the starting line-up a total of 853 caps. A further 112 on the bench give 965 overall.
Just four players – McCaw, Dan Carter, Charles Piutau and Ben Smith – retain their places in the starting line-up from the team that hammered Japan last weekend. Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Ma’a Nonu and Aaron Smith return to the backline, while Kieran Read, Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Mealamu and Woodcock all come back into the pack.
France coach Phillipe Saint-André, meanwhile, hands just a second cap to 24-year old Racing Métro flanker Wenceslas Lauret. Pascal Papé returns in the second row, while the preference is certainly on form over reputation, with Ben Kayser, Yannick Forestier and Damian Chouly all starting in the pack.
Morgan Parra is preferred to Jean-Marc Doussain at scrum-half, while Castres fly-half Rémi Tales is selected ahead of Perpignan’s Camille Lopez.
New Zealand team:
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Charles Piatau, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ryan Crotty.
15 Bruce Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Maxime Médard, 10 Rémi Talès, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Pascal Papé, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Nicolas Mas 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Yannick Forestier
Replacements: 16 Dmitri Szarzewski, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 20 Antoine Claassen, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Gael Fickou