Kaino to play 70th test

Kaino to play 70th test

Jerome Kaino is already the most capped blindside flanker in All Black history and on Saturday, when the All Blacks take on the Wallabies in the opening Bledisloe Cup match, he’ll start in his 70th test match.

The All Blacks announced the squad early Thursday morning, with the team already based in Sydney ahead of the  first match. Kaino will be joined by fellow Blues player Charlie Faumuina, who’ll support from the bench. The game will be played at ANZ Stadium, kicking off at 10.05pm (NZT) and shown live on SKY Sport 1.

The matchday 23 is (with Test caps in brackets):

1. Wyatt Crockett (48)

2.  Nathan Harris (4)

3.  Owen Franks (80)

4.  Brodie Retallick (50)

5.  Samuel Whitelock (75)

6.  Jerome Kaino (69)

7.  Sam Cane (34)

8.  Kieran Read – captain (87)

9.  Aaron Smith (50)

10.  Beauden Barrett (39)

11.  Waisake Naholo (6)

12.  Ryan Crotty (18)

13.  Malakai Fekitoa (15)

14.  Ben Smith (51)

15.  Israel Dagg (51)

16.  Codie Taylor (5)

17.  Kane Hames

18.  Charlie Faumuina (36)

19.  Liam Squire (1)

20. Ardie Savea (2)

21.  TJ Perenara (19)

22.  Aaron Cruden (39) 

23.  Julian Savea (43)

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “The selectors are very happy with the 23 selected for this Test match and we’re looking forward to seeing them play.  This Test match will be another stepping stone in the re-establishment of this group on the international stage and we know that Australia will throw everything at us, which is what Test rugby is all about. With more than 800 Test caps of experience in our matchday 23, I’m confident we have the experience to deal with the challenge.”

Hansen added: “This week has been about getting our preparation and attitude dead right and, therefore, there’s an expectation that this group will bring real intensity and physicality and a high level of skill execution come Saturday.

“We’re all really excited about this first Investec Rugby Championship Test match. It’s against one of our most respected rivals and the Championship itself is one of the best competitions in the world. It produces an exciting brand of rugby and world-class players, which both teams have.

“We’re also playing for the Bledisloe Cup, which after the Rugby World Cup, is probably the most important trophy we play for. Both teams will be desperate to get their hands on it which will create added pressure. It’s about embracing that pressure and taking it on. Our attitude has always been – and still is – that we don’t hold the Bledisloe Cup by right; we have to go out and earn the right to take it. As a group we’re really looking forward to this challenge on Saturday.”