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McCaw to captain All Blacks against Samoa

The All Blacks team for the historic Test against Manu Samoa in Apia on Wednesday July 8 has been named, with George Moala to make his Test debut on the wing.

Photo: The Blues

Photo: The Blues

The starting XV features a wealth of experience in the forward pack, with 638 Test caps up front, courtesy of a front row of Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu and Owen Franks; locks Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano; and the familiar loose forward trio of Jerome Kaino, captain Richie McCaw and Kieran Read.

There are a further 224 Test caps in the starting backline, with scrumhalf Andy Ellis returning to the All Blacks for the first time since 2011; Daniel Carter is at flyhalf with Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty in the midfield.

Moala is on the right wing, Charles Piutau is on the left and Israel Dagg is at fullback

On the bench, hooker Hikawera Elliot continues his remarkable rugby comeback after last playing for the All Blacks in 2012 and undergoing neck surgery in 2013.

Wyatt Crockett joins Laulala as prop cover while Brodie Retallick will provide lock cover. Another returning All Black, Matt Todd, is loose forward reserve. In the backs, Colin Slade joins Weber and Ngatai as backs reserves.

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The team is:

Starting XV:

1. Tony Woodcock (110)
2. Keven Mealamu (123)
3. Owen Franks (57)
4. Luke Romano (17)
5. Samuel Whitelock (62)
6. Jerome Kaino (56)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (137)
8. Kieran Read (72)
9. Andy Ellis (26)
10. Daniel Carter (102)
11. Charles Piutau (14)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (23)
13. Ryan Crotty (13)
14. George Moala
15. Israel Dagg (46)

Reserves:

16. Hikawera Elliot (3)
17. Wyatt Crockett (27)
18. Nepo Laulala
19. Brodie Retallick (36)
20. Matt Todd (2)
21. Brad Weber
22. Colin Slade (17)
23. Charlie Ngatai

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