x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

McCaw and Carter back for All Blacks

Coach Henry does a revamp of the back line to prepare for 'dangerous' Australia in Tri Nations decider.

Graham Henry, the New Zealand coach, has named a near full-strength line-up for the Tri Nations title decider against Australia on Saturday, recalling Richie McCaw, the captain, and a host of front-line players rested for last week's loss against South Africa.

Dan Carter returns to push stand-in fly-half Colin Slade to the bench, while Owen Franks, the tight-head prop, has been named in the team in place of John Afoa after the All Blacks pack were outmuscled by the Springboks in their 18-5 loss in Port Elizabeth.

Henry said: "This is a tournament-defining match for the team.

"Australia are a dangerous team to play and they will be looking to bounce back from the loss against us in Auckland, so we will have to play at our very best.

"It's going to be a massive Test match."

Brad Thorn returns to the second row at the expense of Ali Williams for the match at Brisbane's Lang Park, which will decide southern hemisphere bragging rights ahead of next month's World Cup.

Henry has replaced the entire back line that failed to convert a number of chances into tries against South Africa, with the centre pairing Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith reunited as the All Blacks seek to retain the Tri Nations trophy.

Piri Weepu has dislodged Jimmy Cowan as the starting scrum-half, while Zac Guildford and Cory Jane start on the wings. Mils Muliaina, the fullback, will play his 98th Test in place of Israel Dagg.

The only notable absence is Jerome Kaino, rested after the South Africa match, allowing Adam Thomson to return to his favoured blindside flanker position after struggling in McCaw's openside spot against the Springboks.

Kieran Read comes in for the dropped Liam Messam at No 8 in a side that boasts 10 of the starting 15 that humbled the Wallabies 30-14 in their Tri Nations opener at Eden Park earlier this month.