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New Zealand are holding nothing back with their team selection to face Georgia

Carter, McCaw, Retallick and Read all return.

McCaw and Carter start in a strong New Zealand XV.
McCaw and Carter start in a strong New Zealand XV.
Image: Mike Egerton

DAN CARTER, RICHIE McCaw and Brodie Retallick all return for the All Blacks for Friday night’s Pool C meeting with Georgia in Cardiff.

Steve Hansen has named a formidable starting XV to face the Eastern Europeans, taking absolutely no chances with close to a full-strength side.

There are 10 changes in total from last week’s 44-point victory against Namibia, with winger Waisake Naholo featuring for the first time in the tournament, after his miracle recovery from a leg break.

The Highlanders winger replaces Man-of-the-Match from the Namibian win, Nehe Milner Skudder, who drops out of the matchday squad after starting the opening two games.

Naholo’s Highlanders teammate Ben Smith starts at fullback after scoring a try from the bench last time pout, while Julian Savea retains his place in the starting 15 to complete the back three.

Sonny Bill Williams continues at first centre, but he’s joined by Conrad Smith in midfield, who comes in for Malakai Fekitoa.

First choice half-back pairing Aaron Smith and Dan Carter link up behind the pack, with TJ Perenara set to play at out-half from the bench, with Tawera Kerr-Barlow the scrum-half replacement.

Perenara is set to fill in at out-half with Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade both carrying knocks, while Ma’a Nonu is also not considered for selection due to injury.

Charlie Faumuina retains his place at tighthead, while Wyatt Crockett starts at loose alongside hooker Dane Coles.

Brodie Retallick is back in the second row to partner Sam Whitelock, while in the back row, Richie McCaw and Keiran Reid return to link up with Jerome Kaino.

New Zealand (v Georgia)

15. Ben Smith

14. Waisake Naholo

13. Conrad Smith

12. Sonny Bill Williams

11. Julian Savea

10. Daniel Carter

9. Aaron Smith


1. Wyatt Crockett

2. Dan Coles

3. Charlie Faumuina

4. Brodie Retallick

5. Sam Whitelock

6. Jerome Kaino

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7. Richie McCaw (capt)

8. Kieran Read


16. Keven Mealamu

17. Tony Woodcock

18. Owen Franks

19. Victor Vito

20. Sam Cane

21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow

22. TJ Perenara

23. Malakai Fekitoa

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About the author:

Neil Treacy

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