New Zealand name side for opening Rugby World Cup match

New Zealand coach Graham Henry on Wednesday announced the team to play New Zealand’s opening match in Pool A against Tonga at Eden Park, Auckland, on Friday, 9 September. Mils Muliaina is the surprise omission from the team, replaced by Israel Dagg, with Richard Kahui taking Cory Jane’s 14 shirt and the All Blacks using a new centre combination of Sonny Bill Williams and Ma’a Nonu.

1. Tony Woodcock, 2. Andrew Hore, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Brad Thorn, 5. Ali Williams, 6. Jerome Kaino, 7. Richie McCaw (c), 8. Victor Vito, 9. Jimmy Cowan, 10. Daniel Carter, 11. Isaia Toeava, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 13. Ma’a Nonu, 14. Richard Kahui, 15. Israel Dagg.


16. Corey Flynn, 17. Ben Franks, 18. Anthony Boric, 19. Sam Whitelock, 20. Piri Weepu, 21. Colin Slade, 22. Cory Jane

9 thoughts on “New Zealand name side for opening Rugby World Cup match

  1. No Smith, No Jane, No Mealamu, No Muliaina.

    Causing lots of debate over here in NZ.

    The dreaded ‘rotation policy’ coming into play

  2. Using Tonga & Japan games to experiment with squad options I think.

    I would expect the performances of these games to determine what would be a first choice team for NZ vs. France on Sept. 24th.

  3. This will be SBW one and only game at this world cup. He is in there so Conrad doesnt get smashed by the Tongans.Henry has him playing at 2nd five so he can’t show how dynamic in attack and defence he is when playing center. His job will be to take it up into the RED WALL and that’s it. No matter what you think of him he is the best center NZ has had since Frank Bunce. If you haven’t been watching good old Conrad has missed 7 tackles from the Fiji game til now , many more to come I’m afraid. On a final note unless mils gets injuried in the next game that’s it for you to Israel sorry bro I would of picked you along with Hosea, and a couple of others sorry Mr Henry you are going to blow it once again.

  4. this is called wheeling out the cannon fodder for the tongans.
    the tongans will eb looking to smash the all balcks to pieces and henry doesnt want to use his classy, slightly smaller players (Conrad smith, corey jane) etc

    this will not be the side for france!

  5. Agreed Jimmy, this is not the same as the rotation policy which led to Henry not knowing his best team and leaving out Aaron Mauger, his key player in the quarters in 2007. Conrad Smith is like Mauger was then – he knits things together. It’s amazing how often both of them just insert themselves into the play at the key time and make the scoring pass or the one before. You can’t coach it.

    Muliaina will come back in but I think Israel Dagg is quality and may be in the best 22, not least because it is one of the best names to say in a Kiwi accent – Usrael Digg, narrowly beating Sunny Bull and Conrid Smuth.

    1. not sure what other think but the atmostphere @ france v NZ in their group match, with all the history and pressure, will be mind blowing

      who will blink first….NZ are the rational winners but this french side looks the real deal.

      Also the frogs love a challenge and to them, beating the kiwis on home turf is the ultimate.

      prediction: france!

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