19 Jun 2007

All Blacks face tough challenge this weekend

6:35 am on 19 June 2007

The Blues lock Greg Rawlinson will play a test in his home town for the first time when he runs out for the All Black's in this weekend's Tri-Nations match against South Africa in Durban.

Durban-born Rawlinson, who moved to New Zealand in 2002, will partner Troy Flavell in the second row and will win his fourth cap.

Anton Oliver starts at hooker with Keven Mealamu on the bench, while Mils Muliaina starts at fullback and Isaia Toeava at centre.

Coach Graham Henry says Rawlinson is probably playing at an even higher level than he did last year because the competition is greater.

South Africa rallied to beat Australia 22-19 in this year's Tri-Nations opener in Cape Town last Saturday with the help of two late drop goals by replacement Francois Steyn.

So the All Blacks team is Mils Muliaina; Joe Rokocoko, Isaia Toeava, Aaron Mauger, Sitiveni Sivivatu; Dan Carter, Byron Kelleher; Rodney So'oialo, Richie McCaw , Jerry Collins, Rawlinson, Flavell, Carl Hayman, Oliver, and Tony Woodcock.

The replacements are Keven Mealamu, Neemiah Tialata, Ross Filipo, Chris Masoe, Piri Weepu, Luke McAlister, and Luke MacDonald.