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Lima Sopoaga to debut for All blacks

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The team is:

1. Tony Woodcock (112)
2. Dane Coles (27)
3. Owen Franks (69)
4. Brodie Retallick (38)
5. James Broadhurst
6. Liam Messam (41)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (139)
8. Kieran Read (74)
9. Aaron Smith (38)
10. Lima Sopoaga
11. Charles Piutau (16)
12. Ma’a Nonu (95)
13. Conrad Smith (85)
14. Ben Smith (38)
15. Israel Dagg (48)

Reserves:

16. Codie Taylor (1)
17. Wyatt Crockett (38)
18. Ben Franks (41)
19. Samuel Whitelock (63)
20. Victor Vito (26)
21. TJ Perenara (12)
22. Beauden Barrett (28)
23. Malakai Fekitoa (8)

Sopoaga comes in for Daniel Carter at first five-eighths and Broadhurst takes over from Luke Romano. In other changes in the starting XV, Dane Coles comes in at hooker with Liam Messam at blindside flanker. In the backs, Aaron Smith returns to the starting halfback position, while the world-record midfield combo of Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith is back. As well, with a desire to continue to give Israel Dagg more game time, Ben Smith is named on the right wing.
Ben Smith has shown his potency anywhere in the back three with an impressive stint at win two season ago when he was top try scorer. There is no doubt his best position is full back but such is the mix and quality the New Zealanders have.

On the bench, Ben Franks comes in as reserve prop alongside Wyatt Crockett, Codie Taylor retains the reserve hooker jersey, Sam Whitelock is reserve lock, with Victor Vito covering the loose forwards. TJ Perenara is reserve halfback, with Beauden Barrett and Malakai Fekitoa the other back reserves.

Broadhurst and Sopoaga will be surrounded by a wealth of not just quality but experience. The two impressed in the Super Rugby and will be surrounded by a total of 500 caps. (327- starting XV and 217 on the bench). It is a moment of not just opportunity for Lima Sopoaga who made the squad not just because of his quality but the injury to Aaron Cruden made it the more easier.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Potent, balanced, strong! From 1-23 in my opinion! If anything we must target Ben Franks!! Oh and look to expose the driving maul unless they have managed to find a solution to it!!

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  2. @Craven:

    Amazing

    Sense from you… lucum intervallum?

    Dagg is defensively frail.

    If you want the perfect example watch Johnny May’s try vs All Blacks in EOYT last year.

    Conrad Smith too BTW.

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  3. @DavidS: @Craven: I wont disagee but over the kast two games he has played he has improved. I still feel their gamble was better than JPP for us. With Savea suffering a asthma attack they probably shuffled their backs.

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  4. @bryce_in_oz: Don’t deny that gents by far the best. Savea had an asthma attack. They had to reshuffle as I say. To get a balance; Smith would defend that wing better than Dagg would. #i stress it was mere a reshuffle to cover.

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  5. AB coach Steve Puffy Hansen burning midnight oil trying to come up with fencing to keep out the Heinrich Brussouw menace.

    I have no idea who this Lima Sopoaga kid is but his name is reminiscient of an airport shuttle I used in Peru.

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  6. @Americano:

    Haha you cracked me up with the airport shuttle quip!

    @BC:

    Dag definitely a better 15 than 14… still exceptional at both…

    AB’s now have 3 excellent tactical kickers starting… Boks have zero if Pollards poor performance continues…

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  7. Dagg has defensive issues david but they made the right call IMO. With the Boks resorting to kick and chase when they tire out at 60 mins, which is a massive worry going into world cup, expect a lot of bombs on the wings which Smith will deal with ease. Hope Im wrong, but with 85% chance of rain predicted, I have my boerethug reenjas ready and expect a lot of kicking.

    That is my big worry, unless Pollard makes a big step up, we only have Pienaar as a decent tactical kicker.

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