All Blacks team announced to face Namibia at RWC 2015

08:55:00, Wed 23 Sep 2015 New Zealand Rugby

The All Blacks side has been named to play Namibia in their second pool match of Rugby World Cup 2015 at The Stadium, London, on Thursday 24 September (Kick-off: 8.00PM), with openside flanker Sam Cane to captain a new-look All Blacks team for the first time.

The team is: (with Test caps in brackets):

Starting XV

1. Ben Franks (43)
2. Codie Taylor (3)
3. Charlie Faumuina (28)
4. Luke Romano (20)
5. Samuel Whitelock (67)
6. Liam Messam (42)
7. Sam Cane - captain (25)
8. Victor Vito (29)
9. T J Perenara (15)
10. Beauden Barrett (31)
11. Julian Savea (37)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (27)
13. Malakai Fekitoa (11)
14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (3)
15. Colin Slade (20)


16. Keven Mealamu (127)
17. Wyatt Crockett (41)
18. Tony Woodcock (116)
19. Kieran Read (78)
20. Richie McCaw (143)
21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (15)
22. Ma'a Nonu (98)
23. Ben Smith (42)

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said:  "It's a very special moment for 23-year-old Sam Cane who will captain the All Blacks for the first time.  He's in our leadership group, is hugely respected by everyone, is a fierce and fearless player and is someone who has the potential of being a long-term captain of the All Blacks in the future."

Hansen said it was also a fantastic opportunity for those players not selected for the opening Test to get game time.

"At the completion of this match, 30 of the 31 players in our squad will have experienced time in the middle of the park which will give us a good foundation base going forward and which was always part of our planning pre-Tournament.  It's now their time to step up.

"Five of our team will also be playing their first Rugby World Cup match so it'll be a significant moment for them and their families as well."

Hansen added: "The Namibian players will be excited by it too and it will be a great occasion at The Stadium on Thursday."

Key points of interest

* Sam Cane will be the 67th player to captain the All Blacks in a Test and at 23 years eight months old will be the fifth youngest All Blacks captain ever.  Richie McCaw was the previous fifth youngest Captain, aged 23 years 10 months when he captained the team for the first time in November 2004.  The youngest All Blacks Test captain was Canterbury first five-eighth Herbie Lilburne who was 21 years three months old when he captained the All Blacks in 1929.

* The All Blacks starting XV for the Namibia Test has an average age of 26 and there are 1,061 Test caps in the matchday 23.

* The five All Blacks marking their first RWC appearance are Codie Taylor, Luke Romano, Liam Messam, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Malakai Fekitoa.

* The All Blacks have kicked 200 conversions and 102 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).