12 Nov 2009

Three new All Black caps to face Italy

11:48 am on 12 November 2009

The All Blacks coach Graham Henry has included three new caps in the lineup to face Italy before a crowd of more than 80,000 in Milan on Sunday morning.

The uncapped players are all backs: three quarters Ben Smith and Tamatai Eillson and first five Mike Delany, while Rodney Soi'oialo will captain the All Blacks for the fifth time.

Henry has retained only three players involved in last weekend's Test against Wales, and he's defended his selection of a largely inexperienced team for a Test match, saying it's all about building a squad, and with no mid-week matches on the tour, there's no other opportunity to blood new players.

The All Blacks have never lost to Italy in 10 previous matches, although they were held to a 27-6 victory in Christchurch last June.

The full team from fullback is: Cory Jane; Ben Smith, Tamati Ellison, Luke McAlister, Sitiveni Sivivatu; Mike Delany, Andy Ellis; Rodney So'oialo (capt), Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam; Anthony Boric, Tom Donnelly; Neemia Tialata, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett.

Reserves: Andrew Hore, John Afoa, Jason Eaton, Richie McCaw, Jimmy Cowan, Stephen Donald, Mils Muliaina.