26 Oct 2010

Carter and Mealamu set to make test rugby return

6:18 am on 26 October 2010

First five Dan Carter and hooker Keven Mealamu look certain to reclaim their starting spots in the All Blacks team to face the Wallabies in Hong Kong on Saturday night with New Zealand looking likely to start their strongest possible side for the dead rubber.

Mealamu and Carter, who both missed the ITM Cup through injury, came through a 50 minute full contact match unscathed and took full part in team training yesterday.

It appears the selectors feel the Hong Kong test isn't the right time to blood new players with Isaia Toeava, Alby Mathewson and Hika Elliot likely to provide back up on the bench with the more experienced players given the nod.

The starting side should be almost identical to the won that dominated the tri-nations and despite the match being worth nothing assistant coach Wayne Smith says it's important the All Blacks pick their best team to ensure they make the strongest possible start to their end of year tour.