16 Aug 2012

All Black team named for inaugural macth of the Rugby Championship

6:18 am on 16 August 2012

The Chiefs' loose forward, Liam Messam, will start on the blindside flank for the All Blacks against Australia in Saturday's inaugural match of the Rugby Championship in Sydney.

Messam was replaced in last year's World Cup team by the Hurricane's, Victo Vito, but on Saturday Vito bill be warming the bench for the All Blacks in the reserves.

The Crusaders' locking pair of Luke Romano and Sam Whitelock are also in the starting line up with the in form Chiefs' lock, Brodie Retallick, named in the reserves.

The veteran hooker Kevin Mealamu returns to the starting 15 with Andrew Hore on the bench, while the wings Corey Jane and Hosea Gear get their first starts for the All Blacks this year.

Sonny Bill Williams has been named at second five eighth and Ma'a Nonu replaces the injured Conrad Smith at centre.

The team is:

1. Tony Woodcock (86)

2. Keven Mealamu (93)

3. Owen Franks (34)

4. Luke Romano (1)

5. Samuel Whitelock (28)

6. Liam Messam (10)

7. Richie McCaw - captain (106)

8. Kieran Read (38)

9. Aaron Smith (3)

10. Daniel Carter (87)

11. Hosea Gear (9)

12. Sonny Bill Williams (17)

13. Ma'a Nonu (66)

14. Cory Jane (31)

15. Israel Dagg (15)


16. Andrew Hore (65)

17. Ben Franks (18)

18. Brodie Retallick (3)

19. Victor Vito (14)

20. Piri Weepu (59)

21. Aaron Cruden (11)

22. Ben Smith (5)