30 Sep 2011

Read returns from injury to start for All Blacks

10:05 pm on 30 September 2011

New Zealand No 8 Kieran Read will make his World Cup debut in the All Blacks Pool A match against Canada in Wellington on Sunday after overcoming a serious ankle injury.

Read suffered a high ankle sprain in the final Tri-Nations match against Australia on 27 August.

He will join captain Richie McCaw and Jerome Kaino in the loose forwards in what has been coach Graham Henry's first choice combination for the best part of two years.

Veteran fullback Mils Muliaina returns to the side to earn his 99th test cap, while Israel Dagg, who has usurped Muliaina in the fullback's role, has moved to the right wing.

Henry says he wanted both to play in the match and this was the best option. He insists sentiment for 31-year-old Muliaina did not play a part in the decision.

"He's part of this group - he's been an outstanding player and he needs to play. Israel's been playing very well - he got Player of the Day last week and played exceptionally well, which is very pleasing ... But Mills has been an outstanding All Black for a long time.

"So it's a major challenge for both of them - that's good for the team."

Muliaina says he realises the competition in the squad and particularly from Dagg is immense, however, he says there is no reason for him to try and lift the bar even more on Sunday.

"My role is to go out there and make sure I perform well for the team and do my job not look for the things that are going to make you look flashy. As soon as you start thinking that sort of thing, you're guaranteed not to play well.

"Izzy has set a high standard and I've just got to make sure that I do my job as best as I can like he has in the last three weeks."

Sonny Bill Williams starts at second five and Ma'a Nonu is rested. Jimmy Cowan is halfback with Piri Weepu in the reserves.

Andrew Hore is starting hooker with Keven Mealamu on the bench, while Sam Whitelock is joined by Ali Williams in the lineout.

The All Blacks' match against Canada kicks off at 3.30pm at Wellington regional stadium.

New Zealand have already won Pool A and qualified for the quarter-finals where they will play the runner-up of Pool B in Auckland on 9 October.


Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Owen Franks, Samuel Whitelock, Ali Williams, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read, Jimmy Cowan, Daniel Carter, Zac Guildford, Sonny Bill Williams, Conrad Smith, Israel Dagg, Mils Muliaina.


Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Brad Thorn, Anthony Boric, Piri Weepu, Colin Slade, Isaia Toeava.