23 Oct 2015

All Blacks name Moody to bash Boks

9:33 am on 23 October 2015

Prop Joe Moody has been elevated to the All Blacks starting lineup for Sunday morning's Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa in Twickenham.

Joe Moody

Joe Moody Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Having joined the squad as an injury replacement for Tony Woodcock less than two weeks ago, Moody will make his first World Cup start at loose-head prop, with Wyatt Crockett still battling a groin injury.

Crockett's injury isn't expected to keep him out of next week's match, but the All Blacks have received special dispensation from tournament organisers to bring Chiefs' prop Pauliasi Manu to the United Kingdom.

Manu will be on standby and is not allowed to train with the team unless Crockett is ruled out of the tournament.

The addition of Moody is the only change to the starting lineup from the team that beat France 62-13 in the quarter-final, with the in-form winger, Nehe Milner-Skudder, recovering from a shoulder knock to take his place on the right edge.

Ben Franks comes onto the bench as reserve loosehead, with the rest of the substitutes unchanged.

He will not be allowed to train with the team. Coach Steve Hansen said the move was a precaution as they were expecting Crockett "to be alright next week".

Hansen said Moody, who impressed after coming off the bench in the quarter-final against France, was an automatic choice to start ahead of Franks.

"Ben Franks is a very good prop. He covers both sides but Joe Moody is a specialist. He has shown us he is a very good player -- he showed that last week. It was a no-brainer."

Richie McCaw will set a World Cup record in captaining his side for the 12th time in the competition and Hansen hailed "one of the great leaders of world rugby".

"He's been an exceptional player," Hansen said of the loose forward who will win his 147th cap against the Springboks. McCaw is not expected to prolong his international career beyond this year.

"There is a lot of mental fortitude there. We've been through some tough times, and had success in those tough times, and that breeds I guess a deep-seated self-belief.

"He's been a real good competitor from day one and he's managed to keep evolving throughout his career. When he first started he couldn't catch a cold. Had four feet. The big thing he could do was pinch ball at the breakdown. Now he's a complete rugby player."

New Zealand have plenty of respect for South Africa, Hansen said, but the hardest task this week was re-focussing after the plaudits received from their nine-try demolition of France.

"Externally, everybody has got a little bit carried away with themselves, they've made some outrageous statements," he said. "Internally, there is an emotional high that comes with playing like that.

"You have to enjoy that moment and you can't hide from it. But you have to put a full stop in it otherwise you don't go from great to great, you go from great to struggling."

All Blacks: Ben Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (c), Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Joe Moody.

Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Victor Vito, Sam Cane, Tawera-Kerr Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams.