Owen Franks to become newest centurion
The All Blacks team has been named to play Australia in the second Bledisloe Cup Test of the Investec Rugby Championship at Eden Park, Auckland, on Saturday 25 August, with All Blacks tighthead prop Owen Franks to become the All Blacks newest centurion.
The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets):
1. Joe Moody (35)
2. Codie Taylor (33)
3. Owen Franks (99)
4. Brodie Retallick (69)
5. Samuel Whitelock (100)
6. Liam Squire (18)
7. Sam Cane (56)
8. Kieran Read – captain (110)
9. Aaron Smith (75)
10. Beauden Barrett (65)
11. Waisake Naholo (20)
12. Ngani Laumape (6)
13. Jack Goodhue (2)
14. Ben Smith (69)
15. Jordie Barrett (5)
16. Nathan Harris (14)
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (4)
18. Ofa Tuungafasi (17)
19. Scott Barrett (20)
20. Ardie Savea (26)
21. TJ Perenara (46)
22. Damian McKenzie (16)
23. Anton Lienert-Brown (25)
The side features the same starting forward pack from the side which beat Australia 38-13 in Sydney last weekend, while Ofa Tuungafasi comes back onto the reserves bench for Tim Perry.
There are two injury-enforced changes in the backline. With winger Rieko Ioane ruled out, Waisake Naholo comes across to the left wing, Ben Smith moves to the right wing and Jordie Barrett has been named at fullback, for his third Test start. In the midfield, Ngani Laumape comes in for Ryan Crotty.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “The team is fully aware that it has the opportunity to close out the Bledisloe Cup series on Saturday. In saying that, we know that there’ll be a massive response from Australia following their performance last week. Not only are we excited by this challenge, but we’re looking forward to responding ourselves with a better performance.
“Our preparation this week – both physically and mentally – has been all about getting ready to do that. We’ll be looking to execute to an even higher level and play at an intensity that will challenge ourselves and our opponent.”
Hansen has also paid tribute to Owen Franks.
“Whilst last week was a special occasion for Sammy Whitelock, this week it’s Owie’s turn to join that special club. He has started 90 of his 99 Tests to date, which is an incredible achievement for a tighthead prop, one of the most physically demanding positions on the footy field.
“His professionalism and dedication to improvement has been an inspiration to other All Blacks for quite some time now. We congratulate him and his family on such a wonderful achievement.”
Steve Hansen also said the All Blacks were looking forward to playing at home in front of a sold-out Eden Park.
“It’s always a pleasure to play at such a great stadium and the team is always buoyed by the outstanding support.”
Additional temporary seating has taken Eden Park’s capacity total to 48,511 for Saturday night’s second double-header. Gates open at 4.30PM, with the Black Ferns and Wallaroos match kicking off at 5.00PM. The All Blacks vs Wallabies clash kicks off at 7.35PM, with coverage of both matches live and exclusive on SKY SPORT.
Meanwhile, Nehe Milner-Skudder has been released to again play for Manawatu in their Mitre 10 Cup Ranfurly Shield match against Taranaki on Friday evening.
* 30-year-old Owen Franks made his All Blacks Test debut against Italy in Christchurch in 2009 at the age of 21, becoming the third youngest prop to be selected for the All Blacks. He started against Ireland in the first Test of 2010, joining brother Ben in becoming the first set of siblings to start a Test for the All Blacks since the Brookes in 1997. Amongst the many highlights in his career so far, he was part of the RWC-winning All Blacks squad in 2011 and 2015. He is famously yet to score a try for the All Blacks.
* Franks is the ninth All Blacks centurion, joining current teammates Kieran Read (110) and Sam Whitelock (100). The others are: Richie McCaw (148, 2001-2015), Keven Mealamu (132, 2002 – 2015), Tony Woodcock (118, 2002 – 2015), Daniel Carter (112, 2003 – 2015), Ma’a Nonu (103, 2003 – 2015) and Mils Muliaina (100, 2003 – 2011).
* The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003, while the team’s overall record against Australia is: played 162, won 112, lost 43, drew 7.
* Beauden Barrett now has 495 points in Test matches and 90 points against Australia.
* The All Blacks are second on the international try-scoring list so far this year – they have scored 25 tries in four Tests. Scotland are top with 28 tries in their eight Tests this year.
The Investec Rugby Championship
1. All Blacks 38 Australia 13. Saturday 18 August, ANZ Stadium, SYDNEY
2. vs. AUSTRALIA. Saturday 25 August, 7.35PM, Eden Park, AUCKLAND
3. vs. ARGENTINA. Saturday 8 September, 7.35PM, Trafalgar Park, NELSON
4. vs. SOUTH AFRICA. Saturday 15 Sept, 7.35PM, Westpac Stadium, WELLINGTON
5. vs. ARGENTINA. Saturday 29 September, 7.40PM, Jose Amalfitani Stadium
(Estadio Velez Sarsfield), BUENOS AIRES
6. vs. SOUTH AFRICA. Saturday 6 October, 5.05PM, Loftus Versfeld, PRETORIA