Weepu to captain All Blacks against Munster

 

Wellington scrumhalf Piri Weepu will captain New Zealand for the first time against Munster at Thomond Park on Tuesday, as the Irish rugby looks to salvage something from the All Blacks' visit after yesterday's comprehensive mauling at Croke Park.

The All Blacks line-up also includes wing Joe Rokocoko, who started the 22-3 victory over Ireland in Dublin.

Two other players make their full All Blacks debuts - Tasman prop Ben Franks and Taranaki flanker Scott Waldrom - with two more prospective newcomers on the bench in Hawkes Bay hooker Hikawera Elliott and Wellington half-back Alby Mathewson.

The team contains eight players who started New Zealand's 32-6 triumph against Scotland at Murrayfield earlier this month.

The game against European champions Munster marks the official opening of their renovated Limerick stadium.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry said: "The Munster match will be a special occasion for the team, and the guys are really looking forward to visiting Limerick.

"The team also knows that it will be a hard, physical match against the European club champions."

The New Zealand squad will arrive in Cardiff on Wednesday afternoon to prepare for next Saturday's Test match against Wales - in which they protect a 55-year unbeaten record against the current Six Nations champions.

Munster Squad: Federico Pucciariello, Timmy Ryan, Dave Ryan, Frank Sheahan, Denis Fogarty, Donncha Ryan, Mark Melbourne, James Coughlan, John O'Sullivan, Niall Ronan, Justin Melck, Billy Holland, Barry Murphy, Kieran Lewis, Brian Carney, Anthony Horgan, Doug Howlett, Lifeimi Mafi, Rua Tipoki, Paul Warwick, Jeremy Manning, Conor Murray, Mike Prendergast

New Zealand: C Jane; H Gear, A Tuitavake, I Toeava, J Rokocoko; S Donald, P Weepu (capt); J Mackintosh, C Flynn, B Franks, R Filipo, J Eaton, A Thomson, S Waldrom, L Messam. Replacements: H Elliott, J Afoa, B Thorn, K Read, A Mathewson, R Kahui, M Muliaina.