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All Blacks team named for RWC 2015 opening Test against Argentina

08:57:00, Fri 18 Sep 2015 New Zealand Rugby

The All Blacks side has been named to play Argentina in their opening match of Rugby World Cup 2015 at Wembley Stadium, London, on Sunday 20 September (Kick-off: 4.45PM). The team is: (with Test caps in brackets):

Starting XV

  • 1. Tony Woodcock (115)
  • 2. Dane Coles (30)
  • 3. Owen Franks (72)
  • 4. Brodie Retallick (41)
  • 5. Samuel Whitelock (66)
  • 6. Jerome Kaino (60)
  • 7. Richie McCaw - captain (142)
  • 8. Kieran Read (77)
  • 9. Aaron Smith (41)
  • 10. Daniel Carter (106)
  • 11. Julian Savea (35)
  • 12. Ma'a Nonu (97)
  • 13. Conrad Smith (88)
  • 14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (2)
  • 15. Ben Smith (41)

Reserves

16. Keven Mealamu (126)

17. Wyatt Crockett (40)

18. Charlie Faumuina (27)

19. Victor Vito (28)

20. Sam Cane (24)

21. TJ Perenara (15)

22. Beauden Barrett (30)

23. Sonny Bill Williams (26)

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said it was exciting to be naming the team for the first match of the tournament. "We're all itching to get started and with 11 of the 23 players about to take part in their first Rugby World Cup match, there's real excitement, enthusiasm and hunger in the group. We all can't wait for our Tournament to start."

The 11 All Blacks marking their first RWC appearance are Ben Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Julian Savea, Aaron Smith, Brodie Retallick, Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Sam Cane, TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett.

Hansen said the squad has had a great build up since arriving in the United Kingdom.

"We've had a wonderful reception here in London.  The boys have really enjoyed connecting with our fans and this wonderful city. But the business is about to start and we're all looking forward to that because, after all, that's why we're here.


"We've selected what we believe is a very strong team.  We have the utmost respect for Argentina who we know a lot more about now because of their involvement in The Rugby Championship.  But it also means they know a lot more about us."

Hansen added: "We will need to be at our very best to get our Tournament away to a good start. We've had a great preparation and there will be no excuses for not performing on Sunday."

Key points of interest

* The All Blacks and Argentina have played against each other 21 times with 20 wins to the All Blacks and a single draw.  That playing history includes two Tests at Rugby World Cups: in pool play in 1987 and in the quarterfinal at RWC 2011.

* Conversely, Richie McCaw, who will again captain the side, will be playing in his 17th Rugby World Cup match, an All Blacks record. Former England prop Jason Leonard currently holds the overall record with 22 RWC appearances.

* Daniel Carter will start his 89th Test at first five-eighth, a new world record.  The rest of his starts were in the 12 jersey earlier in his career.  Carter is currently the world record points scorer, sitting on 1,516 points.

* Tony Woodcock will equal former Jason Leonard's world record of 104 Test starts at prop.

* This weekend seven of the most capped All Blacks by position are in the matchday 23: Woodcock (prop), McCaw (flanker), Keven Mealamu (hooker), Kieran Read (number 8), Carter (first five-eighth), Ma'a Nonu (second five-eighth) and Conrad Smith (centre).

* The team has an average age of 28 and features 1,013 Test caps in the starting XV and a further 316 caps on the bench.

* The All Blacks have kicked 198 conversions and 98 penalties at Rugby World Cups.  The All Blacks also hold the records for most points at a RWC (361 in 2003) and tries at a RWC (52 in 2003).

* Since Rugby World Cup 2011, the All Blacks have played 47 Tests in the last four years with 42 wins (89 percent), just three losses and two draws.