8 Oct 2015

Nonu to get 100th Test cap

1:34 am on 8 October 2015

Midfielder Ma'a Nonu will play his 100th Test match when the All Blacks play Tonga in their final Pool match of Rugby World Cup in Newcastle on Saturday morning.

Nonu, who made his All Blacks Test debut in 2003, has had 83 Test starts in his stellar career, scoring 29 tries and is the most capped All Blacks second five-eighth.

All Blacks' midfielder Ma'a Nonu scoring a try in the 2015 Bledisloe Cup test match at Eden Park.

All Blacks' midfielder Ma'a Nonu scoring a try in the 2015 Bledisloe Cup test match at Eden Park. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He will become the All Blacks sixth Test centurion and will line up alongside three of those centurions: hooker Keven Mealamu, prop Tony Woodcock and first five-eighth Daniel Carter.

New Zealand have already qualified for the quarter-finals, and will top the group ahead of Argentina with an expected victory against Tonga, who have disappointed in this World Cup with just one victory, against minnows Namibia.

Skipper Richie McCaw (sore hip) and prop Charlie Faumuina (tight hamstring) weren't considered for selection.

In McCaw's absence, the side will be captained by Kieran Read while loose forward Liam Messam will make his first appearance in the tournament, off the bench.

Hansen said the squad has prepared well for Tonga.

"We've had a very heavy workload in the last two weeks on the training pitch and a couple of very physical games, which has been great.

"We know the Tongans will be very physical and bring everything to this final Pool match."

As well as Nonu's 100th Test match, several other All Blacks will reach milestones on Saturday: Owen Franks will play his 75th Test and Samuel Whitelock will play his 70th.

The team is: (with Test caps in brackets):

Starting XV

1. Tony Woodcock (117)

2. Dane Coles (32)

3. Owen Franks (74)

4. Luke Romano (21)

5. Samuel Whitelock (69)

6. Jerome Kaino (63)

7. Sam Cane (27)

8. Kieran Read (80) - captain

9. Aaron Smith (43)

10. Daniel Carter (108)

11. Waisake Naholo (2)

12. Ma'a Nonu (99)

13. Conrad Smith (90)

14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (4)

15. Ben Smith (44)


16. Keven Mealamu (128)

17. Wyatt Crockett (43)

18. Ben Franks (44)

19. Brodie Retallick (43)

20. Liam Messam (42)

21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (17)

22. Beauden Barrett (32)

23. Sonny Bill Williams (29)