This week Matt and Jamie talk through some of the other nations...
Hansen turns Perenara into pivot for Georgia clash
LONDON – All Black Coach Steve Hansen has selected Hurricanes scrum half TJ Perenara as back-up for Dan Carter at fly half for New Zealand’s Pool C match against Georgia in Cardiff on Friday.
Whilst teams like Wales, England, Australia and Scotland appear to be in the midst of mini injury crises, Hansen has confirmed that New Zealand is experiencing its own little injury storm, albeit in a more surprisingly low key manner away down in Cardiff.
With fly half replacements Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade excluded from the team for precautionary measures and Ma’a Nonu out through a shoulder complaint, Hansen has been forced to get a little creative with his replacements.
In one of the All Blacks’ stronger teams of the tournament, Aaron Smith starts at 9 with Tawera Kerr Barlow covering for him on the bench followed by TJ Perenara who will slot into the spot normally reserved for a replacement fly half. Fijian-born Waisake Naholo also starts on the wing capping off a remarkable comeback after breaking his leg in New Zealand’s first Rugby Championship hit-out against Argentina two months ago.
Meanwhile, up front Hansen has showed his willingness to rotate with Charlie Faumuina and Wyatt Crockett partnering Dane Coles in the front row while he resorts to the back five of the forwards who dispatched Argentina in London almost a fortnight ago.
On the other side of the park, Mamuka Gorgodze takes his place on the side of the Georgian scrum in hope to lead his team to a respectable performance against the no.1 ranked side in the world. While their hope to win is a tad ambitious, they haven’t far to look for giant killers after Japan miraculously beat South Africa in Brighton on the first Saturday of the tournament.
New Zealand team to play Georgia
Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (c), Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Charlie Faumuina, Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett.
Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock, Owen Franks, Victor Vito, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Malakai Fekitoa.
Georgia team to play New Zealand
Beka Tsiklauri, Giorgi Aptsiauri, Davit Kacharava, Tamaz Mchedlidze, Alexander Todua, Lasha Malaguradze, Giorgi Begadze, Karlen Asieshvili, Shalva Mamukashvili, Levan Chilachava, Levan Datunashvili, Giorgi Chkhaidze, Shalva Sutiashvili, Mamuka Gorgodze (c), Lasha Lomidze.
Simon Maisuradze, Mikheil Nariashvili, Anton Peikrishvili, Konstantine Mikautadze, Viktor Kolelishvili, Vasil Lobzhanidze, Merab Sharikadze, Murazi Giorgadze.