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All Blacks call on vastly experienced XV

Steve Hansen

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has named the most experienced starting XV ever in a Rugby World Cup knockout match for their quarter-final clash with France.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has named the most experienced starting XV ever in a Rugby World Cup knockout match for their quarter-final clash with France.

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Hansen has made four changes to side that beat Tonga last Friday with Wyatt Crockett, Brodie Retallick, Richie McCaw and Julian Savea replacing Tony Woodcock, Luke Romano, Sam Cane and Waisake Naholo.

In total the XV that will line up from the start boast 988 caps between them – only the All Blacks side in their pool clash with Argentina last month has had more in World Cup history.

The last time New Zealand – who will host the British & Irish Lions in 2017 – met France in the World Cup was the 2011 final, when they emerged 8-7 winners to lift the trophy for the second time.

However, Les Bleus knocked them out at the quarter-final stage four years earlier in Cardiff – where the two sides will meet on Saturday.

McCaw and Dan Carter are the only players in the matchday 23 who played in that 20-18 defeat, while Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith become the first centre partnership to start 60 test matches together.
 
New Zealand team to face France:
15. Ben Smith
14. Nehe Milner-Skudder
13. Conrad Smith
12. Ma'a Nonu
11. Julian Savea
10. Daniel Carter
9. Aaron Smith
 
1. Wyatt Crockett
2. Dane Coles
3. Owen Franks
4. Brodie Retallick
5. Sam Whitelock
6. Jerome Kaino
7. Richie McCaw (captain)
8. Kieran Read
 
Replacements:
16. Keven Mealamu
17. Joe Moody
18. Charlie Faumuina
19. Victor Vito
20. Sam Cane
21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow
22. Beauden Barrett
23. Sonny Bill Williams
 
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