3 Oct 2014

All Blacks wrestler to start

11:23 am on 3 October 2014

The All Blacks face a stern test of their 22-game unbeaten run against a confident South Africa in Johannesburg and rookie prop Joe Moody concedes it's hard to keep the nerves at bay.

Joe Moody. New Zealand All Blacks versus South Africa Springboks. Wellington. September 2014.

Joe Moody. New Zealand All Blacks versus South Africa Springboks. Wellington. September 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 26-year-old will make his first Test start for New Zealand at Ellis Park after playing just four matches off the bench.

Moody has been handed the rather large responsibility of taking over at loosehead prop after Wyatt Crockett's facial cuts failed to heal in time.

His selection over 37-Test prop Ben Franks is a significant vote of confidence from the All Blacks coaches and Moody's desperate to repay their faith.

The Crusaders prop credits his wrestling background for helping him develop the mindset and mentality needed to become an All Black front rower.

Moody was a New Zealand and Oceania champion in wrestling but gave up his Olympic dream to fulfil his aspirations of playing for the All Blacks.

While the front-rower says there is little from his wrestling career that will help him in the sea of bodies that form a scrum, he believes his old sport paved the way for his All Blacks call-up.

Captain Richie McCaw will reach yet another milestone on Sunday when he makes his 134th appearance in an All Blacks jersey, breaking a 43-year-old record for total appearances he currently shares with the legendary Colin Meads.