Australia v New Zealand, Tri-Nations, Melbourne, July 31
Rokocoko and Cowan step up for All Blacks
July 27, 2010
New Zealand boss Graham Henry and his assistants Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith were in Brisbane to watch the Wallabies' victory over the Springboks © Getty Images
New Zealand have made two changes ahead of Saturday's Bledisloe Cup clash against Australia in Melbourne, with Jimmy Cowan and Joe Rokocoko both promoted to the starting line-up.
Cowan will wear the No.9 jersey ahead of an unlucky Piri Weepu, who was among the All Blacks' best against South Africa in Wellington. Rokocoko has been rushed straight back into the run-on side at the expense of Rene Ranger after overcoming a hamstring injury. The in-form Weepu, who became a father for the first time on Sunday, will start on the bench while Ranger will play no part.
The only other change is on the bench, where Victor Vito takes over from Liam Messam to provide loose forwards cover.
It will mark Rokocoko's 64th test, moving him ahead of John Kirwan and Jonah Lomu as the most capped All Blacks winger of all time. As well, Tony Woodcock, set for his 66th test, will join former teammate Greg Somerville as the most capped prop in All Blacks history.
The All Blacks boast a wealth of experience with 700 test caps in the starting 15.
"We will need all our experience up against what is a very good Wallabies side," All Blacks coach Graham Henry said. "We have had a good start to the Tri-Nations with the two wins over South Africa but there is no room for complacency -- we are playing our oldest rivals for one of our most prized trophies, the Bledisloe Cup, and both sides will come out firing."
New Zealand: Mils Muliaina, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Joe Rokocoko, Dan Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Tom Donnelly, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read,
Replacements: Corey Flynn, Ben Franks, Sam Whitelock, Victor Vito, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Israel Dagg.