Hansen fields best for Wem­b­ley

The Daily Telegraph - Rugby World Cup - - Sport Rugby World Cup 2015 -

New Zealand have named the most ex­pe­ri­enced start­ing XV in Test history for the open­ing match of their World Cup de­fence against Ar­gentina at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium to­mor­row.

The All Blacks will field 1,013 caps, break­ing the 1,000 mark for the first time, to eclipse their own mile­stone of 966, which they set in Au­gust for the 41-13 Bledis­loe Cup tri­umph over Aus­tralia.

Cap­tain Richie McCaw ex­tends his own record to a 143rd in­ter­na­tional ap­pear­ance and, along­side fly-half Dan Carter, will be ap­pear­ing in a fourth World Cup, a first for a player from New Zealand.

No 8 Kieran Read, scrumhalf Aaron Smith, wing Ju­lian Savea and cen­tre Ma’a Nonu are all present in an all-star All Blacks side.

“We’ve se­lected what we be­lieve is a very strong team,” head coach Steve Hansen said. “We have the ut­most re­spect for Ar­gentina who we know a lot more be­cause of their in­volve­ment in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship. .

“We will need to be at our very best to get our tour­na­ment away to a good start. We’ve had a great prepara- tion and there will be no ex­cuses for not per­form­ing.” Ar­gentina coach Daniel Hour­cade sees a weak­e­ness in the New Zealand maul.

The Pu­mas up­set the All Blacks with their rolling maul when the two sides met in the re­cent Rugby Cham­pi­onship and Hour­cade said: “The maul is one of the many op­tions we have and we are try­ing to de­velop to hurt the All Blacks.”

Hansen branded the lethal rolling maul as “bloody bor­ing” and called for a law change so it could be legally col­lapsed af­ter Ar­gentina scored two tries in quick suc­ces­sion in the July Test from line-out drives that the All Blacks were pow­er­less to stop.

The tries were never go­ing to change the out­come as the All Blacks coasted to a 39-18 vic­tory in Christchurch. But they did ex­pose a chink in the All Blacks’ ar­mour.

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