22 Sep 2011

McCaw to reach 100 against France

6:25 pm on 22 September 2011

Captain Richie McCaw will become the first All Blacks player to earn 100 test caps on Saturday after he was named in their side to play France in their rugby World Cup Pool A clash, though there was no place in the team for fellow veteran Mils Muliaina.

McCaw had been expected to achieve the milestone last Friday against Japan but was a late withdrawal with a calf strain.

However he took a full part in training earlier this week and is included by coach Graham Henry in virtually a full-strength side to face France in what is expected to determine which team wins the pool.

Muliaina, who is on 98 caps and was also a late withdrawal from the Japan match with a tight hamstring, looks to have lost the battle with Israel Dagg for the starting fullback's role.

The 31-year-old is leaving to play in Japan after the World Cup and it now appears, barring a Cup-ending injury to Dagg, he could end his international career stranded just short of the 100-cap milestone.

Piri Weepu starts at halfback.