Donald handed All Blacks start

McCaw and So'oialo return for Bledisloe Cup clash

Last Updated: 14/07/09 10:38pm

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Donald: fly-half role

Donald: fly-half role

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New Zealand are boosted by the return of captain Richie McCaw and Rodney So'oialo for the Tri-Nations opener against Australia on Saturday.

"It is a team with a huge amount of experience with 500 caps in the starting XV and that's crucial for what will be a huge test to kick off the ...Tri-Nations."
Graham Henry Quotes of the week

The back-row pair missed the June Tests against France and Italy to recover from respective knee (McCaw) and neck (So'oialo) injuries.

Stephen Donald gets the start at fly-half ahead of Luke McAlister for the Bledisloe Cup fixture at Auckland's Eden Park.

Both Donald (hamstring) and McAlister (back) had been battling injuries and All Blacks coach Graham Henry delayed naming his team by 24 hours for the coaching staff to ascertain their fitness.

"We are pleased with the way that Stephen has developed since making his debut last year," New Zealand coach Graham Henry said in a statement.

"He played well under difficult circumstances in the two...French Tests this year and we believe that he is the right man for this Test match."

Winger Sitiveni Sivivatu is also back after he suffered a shoulder injury during the Super 14 and missed the June Tests.

Wellington Hurricanes full-back Cory Jane is named on the right wing, with Joe Rokocoko only making the bench.

"It is a team with a huge amount of experience with 500 caps in the starting XV and that's crucial for what will be a huge test to kick off the ...Tri-Nations," Henry added.

New Zealand: 15 M Muliaina, 14 C Jane, 13 C Smith, 12 M Nonu, 11 S Sivivatu, 10 S Donald, 9 J Cowan; 1 T Woodcock, 2 A Hore, 3 N Tialata, 4 B Thorn, 5 I Ross, 6 J Kaino, 7 R McCaw (capt), 8 R So'oialo
Replacements: 16 K Mealamu, 17 O Franks, 18 J Eaton, 19 K Read, 20 P Weepu, 21 L McAlister, 22 J Rokocoko

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