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New Zealand name just under 1,000 test caps in side to face France this Saturday

Sonny Bill Williams must settle for a place on the bench.

Carter and McCaw played in the famous meeting between the sides in 2007.
Carter and McCaw played in the famous meeting between the sides in 2007.
Image: Mike Egerton

HOLDERS NEW ZEALAND HAVE named their most experienced ever World Cup knockout line-up ahead of this Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against France.

Steve Hansen has made four changes from the side that routed Tonga in the final game of the pool stages, with Wyatt Crockett, Brodie Retallick, Richie McCaw and Julian Savea all coming back into the side, with the team’s 988 caps settling a new record in the knockout stages of the tournament.

It means that Sonny Bill Williams must again settle for a place on the bench, with Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu getting the starting shirts in the centre.

As usual Aaron Smith and Dan Carter link up in the half-backs, while Julian Savea coimes back into the starting side on the wing, he replaces Waisake Naholo who drops out of the 23.

In the pack there are three changes. One is enforced, as Wyatt Crockett starts at loosehead in place of the injured Tony Woodcock.

Brodie Retallick returns to the second row in place of Luke Romano, while Richie McCaw slots in for Sam Cane at openside flanker.

Captain McCaw and Dan Carter are the only survivors from France’s famous upset of the All Blacks in Cardiff in 2007, with this Saturday’s reunion set for the same venue.

New Zealand (v France)

15. Ben Smith

14. Nehe Milner-Skudder

13. Conrad Smith

12. Ma’a Nonu

11. Julian Savea

10. Daniel Carter

9. Aaron Smith


1. Wyatt Crockett

2. Dane Coles

3. Owen Franks

4. Brodie Retallick

5. Sam Whitelock

6. Jerome Kaino

7. Richie McCaw (captain)

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8. Kieran Read


16. Keven Mealamu

17. Joe Moody

18. Charlie Faumuina

19. Victor Vito

20. Sam Cane

21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow

22. Beauden Barrett

23. Sonny Bill Williams

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About the author:

Neil Treacy

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