New Zealand v France, Rugby World Cup, October 23, 2011
As you were for Auckland showpiece
October 20, 2011
Aaron Cruden starts at fly-half for the All Blacks © Getty Images
New Zealand coach Graham Henry named an unchanged side for Sunday's Rugby World Cup Final against France in Auckland, with Les Bleus also opting for consistency.
Flanker Richie McCaw will lead the All Blacks into battle as they seek to defeat Marc Lievremont's misfiring brood for the second time in the tournament, with a first world title since 1987 on the line.
Aaron Cruden deputises for the injured Dan Carter at fly-half once again and is paired at halfback with the influential Piri Weepu, who steered the All Blacks past Australia last time out.
The only alteration to the 22 comes among the replacements, where Adam Thomson takes over from Victor Vito. The Otago flanker bagged the opening try as New Zealand cruised to a 37-17 victory against France in the Pool stages.
France barely scraped past Wales in their semi-final clash in Auckland on Saturday - despite playing against 14 men for over an hour following the dismissal of Sam Warburton - but Lievremont resisted the temptation to tinker with his side.
Morgan Parra and Dimitri Yachvili will lead the side from halfback, while skipper Thierry Dusautoir will spearhead the pack's effort from an impressive back-row also containing Julien Bonnaire and Imanol Harinordoquy.
New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Richard Kahui, Aaron Cruden, Piri Weepu, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (capt), Kieran Read
Replacements: Andrew Hore, Ben Franks, Ali Williams, Adam Thomson, Andy Ellis, Stephen Donald, Sonny Bill Williams
France: Maxime Medard; Vincent Clerc, Aurelien Rougerie, Maxime Mermoz, Alexis Palisson; Morgan Parra, Dimitri Yachvili; Jean-Baptiste Poux, William Servat, Nicolas Mas, Pascal Pape, Lionel Nallet, Thierry Dusautoir (capt), Julien Bonnaire, Imanol Harinordoquy
Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Fabien Barcella, Julien Pierre, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Jean-Marc Doussain, Francois Trinh-Duc, Damien Traille
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