Weepu to captain All Blacks against Munster

New Zealand scrum-half Piri Weepu will captain the All Blacks for the first time when he leads the side in Tuesday’s tour match against European champions Munster at Thomond Park.

Tasman prop Ben Franks and Taranaki loose forward Scott Waldrom have both been named in the starting XV for their run-on debuts.

There are also two more potential newcomers on the bench in Hawkes Bay hooker Hikawera Elliott and Wellington back Alby Mathewson.

This match celebrates the 30th anniversary of one of rugby union’s greatest shock results.

On October 31 1978, Munster beat New Zealand 12-0 at Thomond Park – still the only victory by any Irish side over the All Blacks.

The only match on New Zealand’s tour that isn’t a Test, Tuesday’s game will also mark the official opening of the redeveloped Thomond Park.

“The Munster match will be a special occasion for the team and the guys are really looking forward to visiting Limerick,” said Graham Henry, the All Blacks coach.

“The team also knows that it will be a hard, physical match against the European club champions.” However, neither team will be at full-strength.

New Zealand, who beat Ireland 22-3 at last weekend, are away to Wales this coming Saturday and their side for the Munster match features just one member of the run-on side at Croke Park in wing Joe Rokocoko.

But the team does contains eight players who started New Zealand’s 32-6 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield earlier this month.

Munster too are likely to be depleted, having provided eight members of the Ireland run-on XV beaten by the All Blacks and with the national team in action this weekend against Argentina.

But the province’s former All Black wing Doug Howlett is expected to face his former team-mates.

New Zealand (15-1)


Cory Jane; Hosea Gear, Anthony Tuitavake, Isaia Toeava, Joe Rokocoko; Stephen Donald, Piri Weepu (capt); Liam Messam, Scott Waldrom, Adam Thomson; Jason Eaton, Ross Filipo; Ben Franks, Corey Flynn, Jamie Mackintosh


Replacements: Hikawera Elliott, John Afoa, Brad Thorn, Kieran Read, Alby Mathewson, Richard Kahui, Mils Muliaina



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