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Mealamu to win 100th All Blacks cap

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Keven Mealamu.

Keven Mealamu. Photo: Getty Images

WELLINGTON: Hooker Keven Mealamu will on Saturday become only the third player to win 100 caps for the All Blacks when he starts against Australia in the Bledisloe Cup clash in Brisbane.

The 33-year-old follows captain Richie McCaw and full-back Mils Muliaina who both played their 100th Tests during last year's World Cup.

"On behalf of the All Blacks players and management, I want to congratulate Keven on reaching this very special milestone," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

"'Kevvy' is a hugely respected man, not only in the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby but also in his wider community; he is a key leader in the team and one of the true gentlemen of New Zealand rugby. I know his family are extremely proud of him and so is his All Blacks family."

As well as Mealamu, who returns to the front row in place of Andrew Hore, Saturday's starting XV features just one other change from that which started the last Test of the Rugby Championship against South Africa 12 days ago, with prop Charlie Faumuina getting his first Test start, coming in for Owen Franks.

Other changes on the bench from the South Africa Test see Hore at reserve hooker, Victor Vito comes in for Adam Thomson as loose forward cover, while Ben Smith replaces Tamati Ellison in the outside back reserve jersey.

"Playing Australia in Brisbane represents another great challenge for the team and one which we are looking forward to," said Hansen, whose team, are aiming for a 17th successive Test win.

"We have prepared well so far for the Test and, as always, the challenge for the team is not only the opposition, but also meeting our own expectations when it comes to the standard of our performance."

New Zealand: Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Hosea Gear, Daniel Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Samuel Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Charlie Faumuina, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Replacements: Andrew Hore, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Victor Vito, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ben Smith.

AFP

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Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
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Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs RSA 01:00Stadio Plebiscito
SCO vs TGA 01:30Rugby Park
IRE vs AUS 03:30Lansdowne Road
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ENG vs SAM 06:00Twic
FRA vs ARG 07:00StdF
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