WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Richie McCaw will lead New Zealand in their tour match against Japan to shake off the rust before the All Blacks head to Europe, coach Steve Hansen has said.
The world champions, riding a 10-match winning streak, had originally planned to rest McCaw and flyhalf Daniel Carter among a core of experienced players, but will unleash the pair against the “Brave Blossoms” in Tokyo on November 2.
Hansen has named a touring squad of 36 for the Japan clash and following matches against France, England and Ireland.
“Richie will captain the team, he needs some rugby and will play at least half a game,” Hansen told local media on Wednesday. “We also need DC (Carter) to get some rugby too but some like Kieran Read won’t be required.”
Hansen on Sunday said nine senior players would fly directly to Paris to prepare for the November 9 match against France but has held off naming them until assessing the squad after the local ITM Cup final on Saturday.
“It will probably upset some people, but at the same time we have to prepare to play a test match,” Hansen added.
Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford