Little surprise in All Blacks party

There were few surprises in the New Zealand squad named to face Australia in Christchurch on Saturday. [more]

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There were few surprises in the New Zealand squad named to face Australia in Christchurch on Saturday.

Mils Muliaina’s selection as Tana Umaga’s replacement was the main talking point, but otherwise the squad is very much as predicted.

Muliaina becomes the sixth different player to wear the number 13 jersey in six consecutive New Zealand tests and the fourth this season.

He was confirmed in the position after Ma’a Nonu was forced out of action for six weeks.

Nonu will play no further part in the Tri Nations after fracturing his thumb playing club rugby.

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Auckland captain Sam Tuitupou joins the squad but misses out on the 22-man match-day party.

Jason Eaton is the locking partner of Chris Jack, who will play his 50th test, while hooker Anton Oliver misses out on the 22.

Reuben Thorne, who was named in the Tri-Nations squad last week, has been left out.

Australia remain unchanged from the team that beat Ireland 34-17 in Perth 10 days ago.

Matt Giteau has been named on the bench for his first test of the year after recovering from injury.

New Zealand squad: Leon MacDonald, Rico Gear, Mils Muliaina, Aaron Mauger, Joe Rokocoko, Dan Carter, Byron Kelleher; Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Carl Hayman, Chris Jack, Jason Eaton, Jerry Collins, Richie McCaw (captain), Rodney So’oialo.

Reserves: Andrew Hore, Greg Somerville, Ali Williams, Chris Masoe, Piri Weepu, Luke McAlister, Isaia Toeava.

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