Get that back sorted please Dan Carter!
The All Black selectors have named a very strong team to face Japan on Friday night; here 'tis:
Mils Muliaina, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Richard Kahui, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Adam Thomson, Richie McCaw (capt), Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Andrew Hore, John Afoa, Ali Williams, Victor Vito, Piri Weepu, Colin Slade, Sonny Bill Williams.
We'd venture to suggest that this is a stronger side overall than the one that played Tonga last Friday night. The "old firm" of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith is reunited in the midfield. Richard Kahui had a storming game on Friday, and he and Cory Jane add attacking power in spades out wide. We suggested some time ago that Mils Muliaina would play against Japan and Canada, and bring up his 100 tests, and barring injuries in the latter stages of the tournament, that will probably be his lot. And Andy Ellis has played an abundance of rugby with Dan Carter, so his selection is no surprise, and we're sure that Piri Weepu will get hame-time.
In the forwards, it's pretty much a full-strength pack. Adam Thompson returns from his elbow injury against Australia, and Sam Whitelock's mobility in what should be a fast-paced match gets him a start ahead of Ali Williams.
We're pleased that the selectors have resisted the temptation to experiment with this side. There are plenty of established combinations, and the team's performance against Japan should go up by several notches.
And we've saved the most signifcant for last. Richie McCaw will play his 100th test match, and become the first New Zealander to reach that mark. McCaw was injury-prone in his early career, and there were fears for his longevity. He has dispelled those, and is on his way to becoming one of the great All Blacks of all time. We salute his achievement, and will have more to say on Friday.
We'll be looking for an emphatic New Zealand win on Friday night, and for a strong team performance. This team is most certainly capable of that; the acid is now on them to deliver.