Nonu gets All Blacks nod

All Blacks bring in experienced duo for Tri-Nations opener

Last Updated: 06/07/10 7:34am

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Nonu: All Blacks return

Nonu: All Blacks return

Sky Bet

New Zealand coach Graham Henry has brought centre Ma'a Nonu back into his side for Saturday's opening Tri-Nations clash against South Africa.

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Nonu will play his first game for the All Blacks this season as the selectors opt to go for a more experienced line-up at Eden Park on Saturday.

Nonu, who has 46 All Blacks appearances to his name, has played just 70 minutes of club rugby since injuring his knee in a Super 14 match on May 14.

Full-back Mils Muliaina is also included in the starting XV as he and Nonu take the places of emerging players Israel Dagg and Benson Stanley, who figured in the pre-tournament Tests.

Owen Franks comes back in at tighthead prop in place of Neemia Tialata, as Henry prepares his side for a tough battle with the world champions.

"The Springboks are the defending Tri-Nations champions and, like us, will be keen to kick off their campaign on a winning note," said Henry.

"However, our squad has prepared well and the players are excited by the first up challenge this weekend. It's going to be a massive kickoff to the competition."

The Springboks side who have injury concerns at lock, with Bakkies Botha and Danie Roussouw both struggling, meaning the tourists will not name their side until Thursday.

Saturday's game will mark 90 years to the day that the All Blacks first played at Eden Park.

New Zealand team: Jimmy Cowan, Daniel Carter, Josevata Rokocoko, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Cory Jane, Mils Muliaina, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Tom Donnelly, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read

Replacements: Corey Flynn, Ben Franks, Samuel Whitelock, Liam Messam, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Richard Kahui

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