Keven Mealamu to win 100th cap in Bledisloe finale

Last Updated: 17/10/12 5:43pm

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Keven Mealamu: 100th cap for New Zealand on Saturday

Keven Mealamu: 100th cap for New Zealand on Saturday

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Keven Mealamu will become the third New Zealander to reach 100 Test caps in Saturday's third and final Bledisloe Cup match with Australia in Brisbane.

The hooker returns to the line-up and will join Richie McCaw and full-back Mils Muliaina as having achieved a century of All Blacks caps.

Mealamu's inclusion is one of two changes to the team which beat South Africa 32-16 last time out. Andrew Hore will drop to the bench, along with tighthead prop Owen Franks, with rookie Charlie Faumuina getting his first Test start at Lang Park.

"I want to congratulate Keven on reaching this very special milestone," All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said.

"'Kevvy' is a hugely respected man, not only in the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby but also in his wider community; he is a key leader in the team and one of the true gentlemen of New Zealand rugby."

There are two changes on the bench with Victor Vito replacing Adam Thomson as back-row cover and Ben Smith replaces Tamati Ellison as backs cover.

The All Blacks, who have already retained the Bledisloe Cup, are chasing their 17th successive Test victory at Lang Park. If they win they will equal the record of successive wins for top tier rugby nations.

The world record of 18 is held by Lithuania.

"Playing Australia in Brisbane represents another great challenge for the team and one which we are looking forward to," said Hansen.

"We have prepared well so far for the Test and, as always, the challenge for the team is not only the opposition, but also meeting our own expectations when it comes to the standard of our performance."

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Ben Smith

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