Moody to start All Blacks’ RWC semi-final

The inclusion of prop Joe Moody for the injured Wyatt Crockett is the one change to the All Blacks’ starting line-up for their Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa.

Crockett went off with a groin problem 28 minutes into the quarter-final against France in Cardiff last weekend.

Moody came off the bench and produced a big performance in the 62-13 win.

He had flown from New Zealand just days earlier as an injury replacement for Tony Woodcock, whose tournament was ended by a hamstring injury in the All Blacks’ last pool match against Tonga.

Moody’s promotion means Ben Franks comes into the reserves for the clash with the Springboks at Twickenham on Sunday morning (NZ time).

The other All Black who was an injury doubt this week, winger Nehe Milner-Skudder, has been passed fit to play.

Milner-Skudder scored a try in the demolition of France before sitting out the second half with a shoulder complaint.

Coach Steve Hansen says the All Blacks have put the win over the Tricolores behind them.

“We’ve had a great preparation so far this week,” he said.

“We’ve put a full stop on last weekend’s performance and have been slowly building throughout the week to produce another game we can all be proud of.”

Although the All Blacks and Springboks have met 90 times, only three of those have been at a World Cup – the 1995 final, the 1999 third-place play-off and a 2003 quarter-final.

“These cup finals matches are totally different,” Hansen said.

“They have a live-or-die nature to them and both teams will be desperate to advance.”

All Blacks: Ben Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt), Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Joe Moody.

Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Victor Vito, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams.

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