Cameron McMillan looks at four interesting talking points from the All Blacks squad to face Italy on Sunday.

More debuts

Rieko Ioane and Liam Coltman are set to make their All Blacks debuts from the bench. If they both take the field that means 11 players would have made All Blacks debuts in 2016. In 2008, 16 players made their test debuts.

The first one to take the field will become All Black number 1156, after Scott Barrett became 1155 last weekend. Jerome Kaino, who made his All Blacks debut in 2004, has the lowest All Blacks number in the squad, 1050.


Young locks

The All Blacks have been blessed with an experienced locking duo with a number of years now but with Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick recovering from injuries, Retallick is on the bench this weekend, that leaves Scott Barrett (1 test) and Patrick Tuipulotu (11) as the starting locks. A combination of just 12 tests combined.

It's not new to test young locks against Italy. When the All Blacks played in Milan in 2009, Tom Donnelly (4) and Anthony Boric (11) were the starting locks.

In 2013 Steve Hansen named a starting lock duo of Jeremy Thrush (5) and Dominic Bird (debut) against Japan in Tokyo.

Captain Cane

Sam Cane will have his second taste of the captaincy in a side that has an average age of 25 and an average of 22 caps. As a contrast, the All Blacks team that took the field in the last World Cup final had an average age of 29 and an average of 65 caps per player.

Three of that 2015 team - Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Ma' Nonu - had between them more caps than the entire starting XV that will play Italy at Stadio Olimpico on Sunday morning.

Cane first captained the All Blacks against Namibia at last year's Rugby World Cup.

What's Italian for winner?

It will be Wyatt Crockett's fourth test against Italy, having played them twice during his first season with the All Blacks in 2009. He played in the last encounter in Rome four years ago along with seven players in this weekend's matchday 23: Charlie Faumuina, Retallick, Cane, Aaron Smith, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Aaron Cruden.

Crockett wasn't in the squad last weekend so retains his amazing winning percentage of 97.27 and has gone 44 straight tests without tasting defeat. Italian prop Sergio Parisse will play his 120th test on Sunday, with just 31 of those matches being victories.

Crockett also has an impressive try-scoring drought going on. His one and only test try came in his fifth test match against South Africa in July 2011, 51 tests ago. Newcomer Scott Barrett took 19 minutes to score on debut last weekend.

The matchday 23 is (with Test caps in brackets):
1. Wyatt Crockett (55)
2. Codie Taylor (12)
3. Charlie Faumuina (43)
4. Patrick Tuipulotu (11)
5. Scott Barrett (1)
6. Elliot Dixon (2)
7. Sam Cane - captain (38)
8. Steven Luatua (14)
9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (24)
10. Aaron Cruden (44)
11. Waisake Naholo (9)
12. Anton Lienert-Brown (6)
13. Malakai Fekitoa (21)
14. Israel Dagg (58)
15. Damian McKenzie (1)

16. Liam Coltman *
17. Joe Moody (21)
18. Ofa Tu'ungafasi (3)
19. Brodie Retallick (57)
20. Matt Todd (6)
21. Aaron Smith (55)
22. Lima Sopoaga (5)
23. Rieko Ioane *