23 Aug 2011

All Blacks squad named for Rugby World Cup

9:01 pm on 23 August 2011

All Blacks coach Graham Henry has remained loyal to a solid core of players who have been together for at least five years in naming his squad for the Rugby World Cup.

Openside flanker Richie McCaw will lead the team in his third World Cup and only Wellington loose forward Victor Vito could be considered a surprise choice of an otherwise expected 30-man squad named in Brisbane on Tuesday.

Players who have been with the All Blacks during the Tri-Nations tests and who did not make the squad include Hosea Gear, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Liam Messam, Jarrad Hoeata and Wyatt Crockett.

Vito was not included in the original Tri-Nations squad and was brought into the team for New Zealand's match against South Africa in Port Elizabeth at the weekend, where he played 11 minutes off the bench.

Graham Henry says several very good players have missed out on selection and it was difficult breaking the news to them.

"Our thoughts are with the guys who've missed out. This is a very close group of people, and there's five or six gentlemen who haven't been selected. They are very good rugby players and outstanding people."

Henry says the side has plenty of experience but several younger players to give it vitality, and is confident the New Zealand public will get behind them.

The All Blacks play Tonga in the opening World Cup match at Eden Park in Auckland on 9 September. They are in Pool A with France, Japan and Canada.

Twenty teams will compete to play in the final at Eden Park on 23 October.

All Blacks squad

Forwards: Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read, Adam Thomson, Jerome Kaino, Victor Vito, Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Ali Williams, Anthony Boric, Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore, Corey Flynn, Tony Woodcock, Owen Franks, Ben Franks, John Afoa.

Backs: Mils Muliaina, Israel Dagg, Isaia Toeava, Cory Jane, Zac Guildford, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Richard Kahui, Daniel Carter, Colin Slade, Jimmy Cowan, Piri Weepu, Andy Ellis.