All Blacks unchanged for Rugby World Cup final showdown

Coach Steve Hansen's match-day 23 to face Australia on Saturday is same as team that defeated Springboks in semi-final

LONDON, 29 Oct - New Zealand have named an unchanged match-day squad for the Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham at 16:00 on Saturday.

The line-up is the same as the one that defeated South Africa 20-18 in the semi-final on 24 October.

The last time the All Blacks named an unchanged starting line-up between successive RWC matches was in 2011, when they made no changes to the team that defeated Australia in the semi-finals then beat France in the final.

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Thirteen players in the current All Blacks 31-man squad were part of the triumphant RWC 2011 squad and Tony Woodcock, would have made that 14 if he had not left injured.

The players hoping to win the Webb Ellis Cup for a second time are Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Ben Franks, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Victor Vito, Dan Carter, Colin Slade, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Sonny Bill Williams.

Conrad Smith, Nonu, Woodcock, Mealamu, Owen Franks, Whitelock, Kaino, McCaw and Read all started in the 2011 final and Williams came on as a replacement in that match.

Only six players have been part of two World Cup-winning campaigns: Australia's Phil Kearns, Jason Little, Tim Horan, Dan Crowley and John Eales and South Africa's Os du Randt.

McCaw extends a World Cup record in captaining his side for the 13th time in the competition. He also extends the world record for test appearances to 148.

With his 22nd appearance in a World Cup match, McCaw equals the competition record held by England's Jason Leonard.

Julian Savea is the leading try scorer at Rugby World Cup 2015 with eight. He jointly holds the record for tries in a single World Cup, a mark established by Jonah Lomu (1999) and Bryan Habana (2007).

Mealamu has been on the winning side in each of his past 15 RWC appearances, a record streak for the competition.

Six members of this All Blacks squad have made more than 10 RWC appearances and been on the winning side in all of them: Nonu (14), C Smith (14), Whitelock (13), Kaino (13), Williams (13) and O Franks (12).​

New Zealand

1. Joe Moody
2. Dane Coles
3. Owen Franks
4. Brodie Retallick
5. Sam Whitelock
6. Jerome Kaino
7. Richie McCaw (captain)
8. Kieran Read
9. Aaron Smith
10. Daniel Carter
11. Julian Savea
12. Ma'a Nonu
13. Conrad Smith
14. Nehe Milner-Skudder
15. Ben Smith

Replacements:

16. Keven Mealamu
17. Ben Franks
18. Charlie Faumuina
19. Victor Vito
20. Sam Cane
21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow
22. Beauden Barrett
23. Sonny Bill Williams

RNS ig/sw