Rugby World Cup 2011: All Blacks pick Sonny Bill Williams on wing

Sonny Bill Williams sends out a pass against Canada
Williams has shown some extravagant skills at the World Cup so far

Sonny Bill Williams returns to the wing for New Zealand's World Cup quarter-final against Argentina on Sunday.

Williams switches from centre as Ma'a Nonu's returns, while in Dan Carter's absence Colin Slade plays at fly-half.

Piri Weepu, also an option at number 10, replaces Jimmy Cowan at scrum-half and Mils Muliaina wins a 100th cap.

Argentina make four changes to the side that beat Georgia with Rodrigo Roncero, Manuel Carizza, Gonzalo Camacho and Martin Rodriguez all starting.

Loosehead prop Roncero, who started each of the Pumas' first three pool matches, has recovered from a thigh strain to return and the line-up is almost identical to the one that beat Scotland 13-12, the only exception being Leonardo Senatore replacing the injured Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe at number eight.

Argentina captain Felipe Contepomi needs only five points to overhaul Hugo Porta's record of 590 points and become the Puma's leading scorer.

However, Contepomi is more concerned with playing the "perfect game" he feels his side need to produce if they are to have any chance of ending the All Blacks' 17-year unbeaten run at Eden Park.

"We have been growing match-by-match and we hope to put up a performance we can be proud of and if that leads to a win then so much better," he said.

"If both teams play at 100% then the odds will be against us but it is sport and anything can happen in that 80 minutes."

New Zealand's captain, Richie McCaw, starts despite an ongoing foot problem, while lock Brad Thorn and hooker Keven Mealamu also return to the starting line-up after being unused replacements in the 79-15 pool victory over Canada.

Victor Vito, Ali Williams and Andrew Hore all drop to the bench, where they are joined by Aaron Cruden, the replacement in the squad for injured star Carter.

Slade, as expected, has been handed the task of replacing the celebrated fly-half but insists he will play his own game.

"It's been awesome, the guys have been really suppportive all week," he said. "My job hasn't changed that much, my job is to direct the team and perhaps starting the game will make that easier. I'm going out there to be myself, I'm not trying to be DC."

Muliaina, who made his All Blacks debut in 2003, becomes the second All Black to reach the century milestone, following captain McCaw's 100th Test against France two weeks ago.

"It's a pretty special achievement," said the 31-year-old. "I'm just going to get out there and make sure I do my job."

"I want to congratulate Mils on this outstanding achievement," said coach Graham Henry. "He is a special man and has been a world-class All Black for many years. He's the consummate professional really, as well as a very influential member of the All Blacks leadership group."

New Zealand and Argentina have played each other 13 times previously with the All Blacks winning 12 and one draw.

Henry said his squad have "a real feeling of positive anticipation" as they approach the business end of the tournament, with the knock-out stages about to get under way.

"There is excitement amongst the team and we have had a good build-up on the North Shore this week, but there is also a realisation that this is sudden death, finals rugby," he added.

"We have the utmost respect for Argentina. They showed in their pool matches, especially against England and Scotland, just how physical their game is, especially at set-piece and at the breakdown."

New Zealand team: Mils Muliaina; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams; Colin Slade, Piri Weepu; Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (capt), Kieran Read. Replacements: Andrew Hore, Ben Franks, Ali Williams, Victor Vito, Jimmy Cowan, Aaron Cruden, Isaia Toeava.

Argentina team: Martin Rodriguez; Gonzalo Camacho, Marcelo Bosch, Felipe Contepomi (capt), Horacio Agulla; Santiago Fernandez, Nicolas Vergallo; Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma, Juan Figallo; Manuel Carizza, Patricio Albacete, Julio Farias Cabello, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Leonardo Senatore. Replacements: Agustin Creevy, Martin Scelzo, Marcos Ayerza, Alejandro Campos, Alfredo Lalanne, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Juan Jose Imhoff

Top Stories