August 23, 2012
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Crockett recalled in sole All Black change

The All Blacks made only one injury-forced change to the team announced Thursday for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash with Australia, with Wyatt Crockett replacing loosehead prop Tony Woodcock.

The days of the world champions rotating players appear over under coach Steve Hansen who has made clear he wants to remain loyal to his First XV in the second Test at Eden Park.

"It just gives us an opportunity to get some miles under the belt as combinations and as a team," he said of the All Blacks who beat the Wallabies 27-19 in the opening Rugby Championship encounter in Sydney last weekend.

"We are expecting that Australia will take a step up in their intensity after last weekend's loss and we will have to be ready for that challenge."

The policy, a change from the days of former head coach Graham Henry, means Hansen turning down the chance to blood a new midfield combination and Sonny Bill Williams starting what could be his final Test for the All Blacks.

Williams was retained by the All Blacks for two Tests against the Wallabies to cover for the injured Conrad Smith, and will then leave for a short-term contract in Japan before returning to the rival rugby league code in Australia.

Crockett, 29, gets a rare outing in the All Blacks number one jersey after 87-Test loosehead specialist Woodcock was sidelined by a rib injury suffered last week.

The six-Test Crockett's last outing, again when Woodcock was injured, was when the All Blacks beat Australia 30-14 in a Tri-Nations Test in Auckland a year ago.

He was culled from the World Cup squad and although brought back for the Ireland series in June he never took the field because Woodcock started all three tests.

The All Blacks have played Australia 144 times since 1903, and have a record of 98 wins, five draws and 41 losses.

New Zealand (15-1)
Israel Dagg; Cory Jane, Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Hosea Gear; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam; Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano; Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett
Reserves: Andrew Hore, Ben Franks, Brodie Retallick, Victor Vito, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ben Smith.

AFP

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