Carter out of final Test
Wed, 20 Jun 2012 20:38
The All Blacks, by their own admission, weren't happy with the way they performed on Saturday
All Blacks match-winner Dan Carter is out of Saturday's third Test against Ireland in a revamped side that also features Richie McCaw moving to No.8.
There are six changes to the starting XV as coach Steve Hansen covers for injuries and to shore up holes exposed in the tense 22-19 second Test victory in Christchurch last weekend.
Carter, the team playmaker who won the match with a last minute drop-goal, suffered a hamstring injury in training during the week, while usual eighthman Kieran Read has been sidelined by concussion.
First Test hero Julian Savea and fellow wing Zac Guildford have been replaced by Hosea Gear and Ben Smith, respectively, while lock Brodie Retallick and flank Adam Thomson drop to the bench.
Luke Romano will make his Test debut in the second row and uncapped flyhalf Beauden Barrett comes into the reserves, with Aaron Cruden starting in place of Carter in the pivot role.
Hansen said Carter had suffered a mild strain, but it was enough to keep him sidelined, while most of the other changes were a fall-out from the high-pressure second Test.
"Dan pulled up with a sore hamstring after training on Tuesday," Hansen said.
"On assessment [it was revealed that] he has suffered a mild hamstring strain to his right leg which has unfortunately ruled him out of this weekend's Test.
"He will undergo further assessment over the next few days to determine when he will be fit to return to rugby.''
Hansen said last week's second Test against the Irish had been a true Test match, adding: "It was a tough, high-pressure Test.
"It said a lot about the character of both teams and I believe this third Test will see the same character and composure needed.
"The All Blacks, by their own admission, weren't happy with the way they performed on Saturday, and in part this is a credit to the way the Irish played.
"They have laid down a challenge and the key will be now how we respond.
"We will have to ensure our preparation is spot on this week so we can get the performance we need on Saturday.
"That will mean each and every one of us doing our roles to the best of our abilities."
McCaw, who will be starting for the 100th time in his illustrious 105-Test career, has always worn the No.7 jersey, but moves to No.8 for the first time in an injury enforced shake-up of the loose forwards.
Liam Messam, who is probably more accustomed to the No.8 role, will start on the side of the scrum with his Chiefs teammate Sam Cane.
The inclusion of Cruden at flyhalf restores another partnership from the Super Rugby-leading Chiefs, with Sonny Bill Williams beside him at inside centre.
Long-serving hooker Keven Mealamu returns from injury and is on the bench, along with Tamati Ellison, whose one previous Test was in 2009, providing cover for the outside backs.
Romano gets his start following second-Test wobbles in an All Blacks' scrum that has been down on power in the second row following the retirement of Brad Thorn after last year's World Cup.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Richie McCaw (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Beauden Barrett, 22 Tamati Ellison.
Date: Saturday, June 23
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzere (France), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)
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