Kaino, Faumuina, Mealamu to play RWC Final

Kaino, Faumuina, Mealamu to play RWC Final

The All Blacks have named 2016 Blues captain Jerome Kaino to start in this Sunday’s Rugby World Cup 2015 Final (Kick-off 5am NZT) against Australia at Twickenham, London. Kaino will be joined by Charlie Faumuina and Keven Mealamu who will support from the bench.

The side is the exact same 23 who took to the field in last week’s semi-final against South Africa. It’ll also be a RWC record breaking game for Jerome Kaino who, along with Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Whitelock, will have won 13 consecutive games at the Rugby World Cup.

The team is (with Test caps in brackets):
1. Joe Moody (10)
2. Dane Coles (35)
3. Owen Franks (77)
4. Brodie Retallick (46)
5. Samuel Whitelock (72)
6. Jerome Kaino (66)
7. Richie McCaw (147) – captain
8. Kieran Read (83)
9. Aaron Smith (46)
10. Daniel Carter (111)
11. Julian Savea (40)
12. Ma’a Nonu (102)
13. Conrad Smith (93)
14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (7)
15. Ben Smith (47)

16. Keven Mealamu (131)
17. Ben Franks (46)
18. Charlie Faumuina (32)
19. Victor Vito (32)
20. Sam Cane (30)
21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (19)
22. Beauden Barrett (35)
23. Sonny Bill Williams (32)

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “We’ve really enjoyed the interaction with the people of England and Wales throughout the Rugby World Cup, as well as with our own Kiwi fans who’ve travelled and those who have stayed at home. We’ve been really well looked after by our various hosts around the UK and I know as a group we have enjoyed the Tournament, both on-field and off-field because of this.

“We came here as contenders for the Cup, just like everyone else. In our minds, we have never been defenders. We knew we would have to earn the right to progress through the Tournament so being in the Final is very satisfying in its own right, as it’s the first Rugby World Cup Final an All Blacks team has made in the UK. But the ultimate goal has always been to win it, so we are exactly where we need to be to try and achieve that.

“Both teams have arrived at the Final by different pathways. We’ve had the luxury of building game by game throughout the whole Tournament, whilst Australia have had to be at their very best right from day one. Mental fortitude and physical endurance, together with skill execution and sheer desire, will be the key ingredients come Saturday.

“We’ve had a great preparation so far this week at Pennyhill; the boys are feeling really fresh and energised. We’re building towards Saturday’s match with a growing sense of determination and real excitement and I couldn’t be happier with where we are at.

“We know that all our fans here and at home are as excited as we are. Once again, we’d like to thank them for all their good wishes and support, and we’ll be looking to put in a performance all of us can be proud of.”