All Black Naholo to start against Georgia

8:00 am on 1 October 2015

Winger Waisake Naholo will make his Rugby World Cup debut among 10 changes to the starting line-up for the Pool C match against Georgia in Cardiff on Saturday morning.

Naholo broke his leg during his All Blacks Test debut against Argentina in the Rugby Championship in July.

All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo

All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo Photo: PHOTOSPORT

However, after traditional treatment in Fiji, the Highlanders flyer made a quicker than expected return to fitness.

Captain Richie McCaw will win his 145th cap and Dan Carter starts at flyhalf.

Four players weren't considered for selection for the Georgia Test due to injury: Ma'a Nonu (shoulder), Colin Slade (hamstring), Liam Messam (calf) and Beauden Barrett (whiplash).

Coach Steve Hansen said with only one fit first five-eighth available, TJ Perenara would cover that role off the bench, if needed.

"We've selected what we think is the best 23 for this Test match and reflects where we currently are with our progress in the Rugby World Cup," said Hansen.

"We're looking forward to seeing Waisake back on the track, he's been jumping out of his skin at training and I'm sure he can't wait for game day."

"While it's disappointing to have Beauden, Colin, Ma'a and Liam unavailable for selection, their injuries are minor and they're all expected to be available for selection next week."

Hansen said Georgia were big, strong athletes and should contribute to what will be a great occasion at Millennium Stadium.

Meanwhile, Hansen has paid tribute to All Blacks Assistant Manager Gilbert Enoka, who will be involved in his 200th All Blacks Test match this weekend.

Hansen said Enoka, who first started working with the All Blacks in 2000, was a very important cog in the wheel of the All Blacks machine.

Starting XV

1. Wyatt Crockett (42 caps)

2. Dane Coles (31)

3. Charlie Faumuina (29)

4. Brodie Retallick (42)

5. Samuel Whitelock (68)

6. Jerome Kaino (62)

7. Richie McCaw - captain (144)

8. Kieran Read (79)

9. Aaron Smith (42)

10. Daniel Carter (107)

11. Julian Savea (37)

12. Sonny Bill Williams (28)

13. Conrad Smith (89)

14. Waisake Naholo (1)

15. Ben Smith (43)


16. Keven Mealamu (127)

17. Tony Woodcock (116)

18. Owen Franks (73)

19. Victor Vito (30)

20. Sam Cane (26)

21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (16)

22. TJ Perenara (16)

23. Malakai Fekitoa (12)

Georgia has eye on next match

Georgia coach Milton Haig is resting a number of players for the match, with an eye on their final group game against Namibia.

Georgia has beaten Tonga and two wins is likely to guarantee them third spot in the pool, unless Tonga upset Argentina this weekend. That would ensure their place in the 2019 finals in Japan.

Haig will have only five days to prepare for the Namibia clash and is taking no risks.