Young guns set to debut for the All Blacks

12:12, Jun 20 2013
All Blacks training
Captain Kieran Read goes high over Ofa Tu'ungafasi, who was brought in for training help.
All Blacks training
New caps Steven Luatua and Francis Saili join Ma'a Nonu on a warm-up run.
All Blacks training
Sam Cane and Matt Todd run through a drill.
All Blacks training
Some of the backs keep warm with a run.
All Blacks training
Ben Afeaki and Tony Woodcock get some passing in.
All Blacks training
Victor Vito and Steven Luatua run through a drill.
All Blacks training
Steven Luatua and Brodie Retallick get ready for an innovative workout in the rain.
All Blacks training
Beauden Barrett warms up with fellow first five Aaron Cruden.
All Blacks training
The injured Dan Carter looks on during a wet All Blacks training.
All Blacks training
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen keeps covered up as the All Blacks train in a windy and wet Auckland.
All Blacks test preparations
Sam Cane, Aaron Cruden, Julian Savea and Francis Sail react to a kick during a light-hearted moment at the end of All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Matt Todd is tackled by Ben Franks at All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Piri Weepu at All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Piri Weepu shares a joke with All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster at training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Francis Saili practises his kicking at All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Dan Carter enjoys himself at All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Kieran Read surveys the scene at All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
The All Blacks get in some scrum practice at training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Israel Dagg at All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
Kieran Read
All Blacks captain Kieran Read plays with daughter Elle during the captain's run at AMI Stadium.
Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick
Sam Whitelock (left) and the man he replaced, Brodie Retallick.
Brodie Retallick
Brodie Retallick gets worked on by the All Blacks physio during a training session on Thursday.
Ma'a Nonu
Ma'a Nonu shares a joke with a team-mate during the captain's run.
Matt Todd and Wyatt Crockett
Matt Todd (left) and Wyatt Crockett play with Crockett's kids at AMI Stadium.
Kieran Read Crockett
Kieran Read with his two daughters Eden (left) and Elle during the All Blacks' final training.
Sam Whitelock
Sam Whitelock participates in the All Blacks captain's run, as (from left) Brodie Retallick, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock and Owen Franks watch.
All Blacks prepare for France
The All Blacks front row gets in some scrum practice in New Plymouth ahead of the last test with France.
All Blacks prepare for France
Halfback Aaron Smith gets in some passing practice in New Plymouth.
All Blacks prepare for France
Blues backrow Steven Luatua looks set to make his All Blacks debut against France this weekend after being named on the bench.
All Blacks prepare for France
Dan Carter training at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth ahead of the All Blacks' last test with France.

Of the five starting changes to the All Blacks to play France in New Plymouth on Saturday, Rene Ranger's promotion on the left wing will spark most interest.

A calf injury to hooker Dane Coles forced a late change last night, robbing the hooker of a third consecutive start. Andrew Hore takes over with Keven Mealamu coming on to the reserves.

Rene Ranger
STARTER: Rene Ranger gets his highly anticipated start on the wing for the All Blacks.

There are sure to be nerves for Blues blindside flanker Steven Luatua, fullback Charles Piutau and Crusaders openside Matt Todd. All three are in line to make their test debuts at a sold-out Yarrow Stadium. Luatua and Piutau's introductions will be eagerly anticipated.

As expected, Dan Carter swaps the water boy duties for the boots to return from a broken hand which kept him out of the first two tests. The classy first five-eighth will form an experienced halves combinations with Piri Weepu, the halfback also making a comeback of sorts after sitting out the first test and coming off the bench in Christchurch.

Victor Vito is the other starting change at No.6. Liam Messam, first-five Aaron Cruden and halfback Aaron Smith have been given the week off. With Luatua in the reserves and Messam in the wings, Vito will be keen to leave a lasting impression in his first start of the series.

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Experimentation in the midfield has been put on hold with the old firm of Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu retained. Ben Smith will again line up on the right wing though may see time at centre later in the match.

But it's Ranger who will send tongues wagging. The Blues utility has terrorised the French in two memorable cameos. Now he gets a chance to prove he can replicate those efforts for the full 80-minutes. It seems a harsh call on Julian Savea, who returned to form last week, but Ranger will create healthy competition before heading to France at the end of the year.

With the series wrapped up, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has been relatively conservative, resisting the urge to alternate his props. He also continues to make rookies earn test caps from the bench.   

Todd's inclusion is the major surprise. He was called up as a late injury-replacement for fit-again lock Sam Whitelock but may now be given a chance to keep Sam Cane honest. It also means, of the six debutants in the 32-man squad, Blues second-five Francis Saili is the only player not to be selected.

Local favourite Beauden Barrett has been included as cover for Carter on the bench while Tawera Kerr-Barlow could play his second match of the series. Piutau is likely to replace Israel Dagg in the second-half and, with Jeremy Thrush left out, Luatua may be require at lock.

"While the series has been won, we certainly won't be underestimating the French in this final match," Hansen said. "We have put a full stop in last weekend's performance and expecting further improvement from ourselves, and another hard, physical contest from the French.

"However, we are committed to continue building the depth in our squad and introducing new players to test match rugby, hence why we have selected the team we have."

ALL BLACKS: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Rene Ranger, Dan Carter, Piri Weepu, Kieran Read (C), Sam Cane, Victor Vito, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Franks, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Steven Luatua, Matt Todd, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Charles Piutau

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