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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
Carter passed fit for French test
Dan Carter
Carter was back in light training with the All Blacks on Tuesday

New Zealand v France
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Saturday, 6 October
Kick-off: 2000 BST
Live on BBC Radio 5live and the BBC Sport website

New Zealand's star fly-half Dan Carter has been passed fit to face France in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

The 25-year-old missed the Romania win with a calf strain and was restricted to light training this week but was named in the Kiwi starting XV.

"Dan is fit," said New Zealand coach Graham Henry.

"He trained pretty well on Thursday and he has trained again on Friday and is fine. He is kicking beautifully."

However, substitute hooker Keven Mealamu is a doubt after incurring a hamstring injury, so Andrew Hore is on standby to plug the gap.

Henry said: "Keven is struggling with a tight hamstring.

"He hasn't torn it but he is going to be tested again tomorrow morning and we will see how he comes through. It's touch and go at the moment."

The selection of the side is probably the most difficult it's been since we've done the job, particularly the backs

New Zealand coach Graham Henry

New Zealand's record try-scorer Doug Howlett was left out of Henry's 22 when he named the All Blacks team on Tuesday.

Howlett, who has scored 48 Test tries, has been kept out of the side by Sitiveni Sivivatu.

The winger is one of only five players that remain from the side that beat Romania, along with McAlister, wing Joe Rokocoko, lock Keith Robinson and back row Jerry Collins.

Robinson is preferred at lock to Chris Jack, while Anton Oliver starts at hooker, Leon MacDonald play at full-back and Mils Muliaina comes in at outside centre.

"The selection of the side is probably the most difficult it's been since we've done the job, particularly the backs," said Henry.

"We could have picked any of our 14 backs in this match because they're all playing exceptionally well.

"Up front, there is a bit of a gap between the top and second players in some positions. That's no criticism of the second player, that's just the fact of the matter.

"Having tough choices to make is a great situation to be in but it's also difficult to inform the guys who haven't been picked."

Henry had all of the 30-man squad available for selection, with the exception of loose forward Sione Lauaki, who was banned for two matches for a dangerous tackle on Romania winger Gabriel Brezonianu.


Henry added: "We are excited to play France. Sudden-death rugby obviously has its own tensions and that's the reality all eight teams face this weekend.

"France probably weren't expected to be in this quarter-final so there may be some extra tension in this match particularly.

"As a team we have really enjoyed the big occasions over the last few years and we've enjoyed a good and thorough preparation for this match."

  • New Zealand will wear their grey "away" strip instead of their traditional black after losing a coin toss to France, whose shirt is dark blue.

    "We usually wear black and we have changed to silver to compensate. We are quite relaxed about that," said Henry.

    New Zealand: MacDonald, Rokocoko, Muliaina, McAlister, Sivivatu, Carter, Kelleher; Woodcock, Oliver, Hayman, Robinson, Williams, Collins, McCaw (capt), So'oialo.
    Replacements: Mealamu, Tialata, Jack, Masoe , Leonard, Evans, Toeava.

    France pick Beauxis at fly-half
    03 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
    France 64-7 Georgia
    30 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
    NZ's Lauaki banned for two weeks
    01 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
    New Zealand 85-8 Romania
    29 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
    Scotland 0-40 New Zealand
    23 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
    New Zealand 108-13 Portugal
    15 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
    New Zealand 76-14 Italy
    08 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union


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