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Hansen backs his All Blacks to shine at World Cup

Steve Hansen

Richie McCaw and Dan Carter will look to finish their World Cup careers in style after New Zealand coach Steve Hansen named an experienced 31-man squad for the World Cup.

Richie McCaw and Dan Carter will look to finish their World Cup careers in style after New Zealand coach Steve Hansen named an experienced 31-man squad for the World Cup.

Winger Waisake Naholo has been included after recovering from a broken leg. The top try scorer in Super Rugby this year suffered the injury on his Test debut against Argentina in July and was initially ruled out for three months.

But the 24-year-old wing is now expected to be fit in time for the third pool match against Georgia after herbal treatment in Fiji.

Experienced pair Israel Dagg and Cory Jane miss out on the tournament but included are back-row forwards Liam Messam and Victor Vito at the expense of a fourth specialist lock.

Hansen has selected 17 forwards and 14 backs as his All Blacks team – who host the British & Irish Lions in 2017 – aim to defend the title they won on home soil in 2011.

Flanker McCaw, 34, will captain the side in his fourth World Cup and could become the first player to lift the trophy for a second time.

"I think it will be the hardest World Cup ever," said Hansen.

"We believe we have selected players with the right mix of experience, X-factor, determination and mental strength.

"This is an exciting and talented group of players who are looking to do something that hasn't been done before – and make New Zealanders proud."
 
New Zealand squad:
 
Backs: Ben Smith (Otago Highlanders), Julian Savea (Wellington Hurricanes), Nehe Milner-Skudder (Hurricanes), Waisake Naholo (Highlanders), Ma'a Nonu (Hurricanes), Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), Sonny Bill Williams (Waikato Chiefs), Dan Carter (Canterbury Crusaders), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), Colin Slade (Crusaders), Aaron Smith (Highlanders), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs)
 
Forwards: Kieran Read (Crusaders), Richie McCaw (capt, Crusaders), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Victor Vito (Hurricanes), Jerome Kaino (Auckland Blues), Liam Messam (Chiefs), Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), Luke Romano (Crusaders), Ben Franks (Hurricanes), Owen Franks (Crusaders), Charlie Faumuina (Blues), Tony Woodcock (Blues), Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders), Dane Coles (Hurricanes), Keven Mealamu (Blues), Codie Taylor (Crusaders)

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