RWC 2015: New Zealand vs Argentina - All Blacks name their most experienced side ever as Richie McCaw leads defending champions

The All Blacks' starting XV boasts over 1,000 caps ahead of their Pool C opener at Wembley on Sunday

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The Independent Online

New Zealand will field the most experienced ever XV in international history when they start their Rugby World Cup defence against Pool C rivals Argentina at Wembley on Sunday.

Steve Hansen's full-strength side features 1,013 test caps in the starting line-up and a further 316 caps on the bench.

Richie McCaw will lead the All Blacks for the 143rd time while Tony Woodcock, who along with flyhalf Dan Carter is a also a test centurion, will equal Englishman Jason Leonard's world record of 104 test starts at prop.

 

Eight of Hansen's XV started the World Cup final four years ago when the All Blacks beat France 8-7.

"We've selected what we believe is a very strong team. We have the utmost respect for Argentina who we know a lot more about now because of their involvement in The Rugby Championship. But it also means they know a lot more about us," Hansen said on Friday

"We will need to be at our very best to get our tournament away to a good start. We've had a great preparation and there will be no excuses for not performing on Sunday.

"We're all itching to get started and with 11 of the 23 players about to take part in their first Rugby World Cup match, there's real excitement, enthusiasm and hunger in the group.

Dan-Carter1.jpg
Dan Carter starts at fly-half on Sunday

Since triumphing on home soil in 2011, the All Blacks have played 47 tests, winning 42, drawing two and losing three.

They have never lost to the Pumas in 21 meetings.

New Zealand team to face Argentina on Sunday:

B Smith; Milner-Skudder, C Smith, Nonu, Savea; Carter, A Smith; Woodcock, Coles, Franks; Retallick, Whitelock; Kaino, McCaw, Read.

Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Victor Vito, Sam Cane, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams

 

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