Keven Mealamu

Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw

Keven Mealamu

Keven Mealamu

Richie McCaw will become the first player to captain the All Blacks in 100 Tests when he leads New Zealand against Wales on Saturday in his 137th Test.

The 33-year-old flank was named to captain the All Blacks for the match in Cardiff, which could provide some insight into head coach Steve Hansen’s view of his strongest lineup, a year from the next World Cup.

It will be a fitting occasion, as McCaw captained the All Blacks for the first time against the Welsh exactly 10 years ago today, on 20 November 2004, in his 25th Test. McCaw has won 89 of his 99 previous Tests as captain.

Beauden Barrett has replaced Aaron Cruden at starting flyhalf, beating out two other top-class players competing for the No 10 jersey – Dan Carter, the world’s top Test point-scorer, and the versatile Colin Slade, who was named to the bench.

The All Blacks will boast an experienced starting forward pack, with hooker Dane Coles and props Wyatt Crockett and Owen Franks making up the front row while Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock return to the second row, with Jerome Kaino and Kieran Read joining McCaw in the back row.

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Keven Mealamu

MENTOR: Keven Mealamu imparts some knowledge to All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith.

Keven Mealamu says he isn’t done yet, not by a long shot.

As another round of hand wringing about the country’s lack of depth at hooker kicks off, Mealamu has reiterated his desire to be part of next year’s World Cup campaign.

Dane Coles’ looming absence from part, or all, of the All Blacks’ trip to Argentina and South Africa later this month for the birth of his partner’s child has again highlighted the dearth of options available to coach Steve Hansen.

Bay of Plenty’s Nathan Harris was the next cab off the rank, but after that it was anybody’s guess.

“We’ve been bringing people in and out of the environment,” Hansen said.

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Keven MealamuKeven Mealamu will become the first player to reach the remarkable milestone of 150 games for the Blues when he runs out to face the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday night.

The talismanic hooker has already racked up 160 Super Rugby appearances including his season with the Chiefs in 2000, but will play his 150th game for the Blues against the Red and Blacks.

The All Blacks centurion is only two matches away from equalling the record held by Nathan Sharpe for the most Super Rugby appearances (162), and is second only to Colin Meads in first class games after playing his 350th match against the Force on Saturday.

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Keven MealamuBluesVeteran hooker Keven Mealamu will make his long-awaited return to Super Rugby against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday after battling back from another calf injury that sidelined him for more than a month.

The veteran Blues forward has battled calf injuries for the last three seasons and has played just once in 2014, as a second half replacement against the Crusaders on 28 February.

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Keven MealamuBluesBlues hooker Keven Mealamu has been forced to return home early from South Africa with a calf injury that is likely to cause Steve Hansen some concern as the All Blacks coach finalises his planning for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The veteran forward has battled calf injuries for the last three seasons and sustained another strain to his left leg ahead of the Super Rugby match against the Bulls in Pretoria last week.

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BluesThe Blues have named their team to play the Bulls on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld and have strengthened their front row with veterans Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock.

The All Black duo have been named in the starting team for the first time this season. After playing 30 minutes off the bench last week, the Blues and All Blacks centurions have been promoted to the starting XV and will form an all-All Black front row alongside Charlie Faumuina.

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  • Pietman 23 Nov 2014, 17:34 SAST - Ysterman, van Ysterland, Yskor Newcastle, hoop Eben Ysterbed kan n waardige opvolger word. Welgedaan Bakkies! Ek sal altyd onthou hoe...
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