The All Blacks have made several changes for this weekend’s Rugby Championship clash with the Wallabies at Eden Park, with a new look loose forward trio, Beauden Barrett at fullback and Jordie Barrett in the midfield.
Ardie Savea returns at No.8 after missing last week’s Bledisloe Cup win in Melbourne for the birth of his child, replacing Hoskins Sotutu, who drops to the bench.
Dalton Papalii replaces Sam Cane at openside, with the captain ruled out with a head injury.
Akira Ioane starts at blindside in place of the injured Scott Barrett while Sam Whitelock takes over as skipper and is at lock with Brodie Retallick.
Codie Taylor starts at hooker with Samisoni Taukei’aho moving to the reserves.
Midfielders David Havili and Quinn Tupaea are also unavailable through injury, with Jordie Barrett switching from fullback to second-five inside centre Rieko Ioane .
Beauden Barret starts in the No.15 jersey after coming off the bench last week.
Richie Mo’unga remains at first-five outside Aaron Smith, with Will Jordan and Caleb Clarke on the wings.
Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Nepo Laulala are the reserve props, while lock Tupou Vaa’i, midfielder Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and outside back Sevu Reece are the other new faces added to the reserves.
With the All Blacks level on points with South Africa heading into the final round of the Rugby Championship, coach Ian Foster says they’ll need to improve again if they’re to defend their title.
“This year’s tournament is so tightly contested and our group is continuing to make shifts to improve,” said All Blacks head coach Ian Foster.
“We are determined to finish strongly and we know that Australia will throw everything at us. This is what Test match rugby is all about and we can’t wait.
“Saturday’s sold-out double-header at Eden Park is special for our two national teams. We are right in behind the Black Ferns as they take on Japan and we all wish them well.”
All Blacks match-day 23 (Test caps in brackets):
1.Ethan de Groot (9)
2.Codie Taylor (71)
3.Tyrel Lomax (19)
4.Brodie Retallick (97)
5.Samuel Whitelock (139)
6.Akira Ioane (18)
7.Dalton Papali’i (17)
8.Ardie Savea (66)
9.Aaron Smith (110)
10.Richie Mo’unga (40)
11.Caleb Clarke (10)
12. Jordie Barrett (44)
13.Rieko Ioane (55)
14.Will Jordan (20)
15. Beauden Barrett (108)
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (16)
17.Ofa Tu’ungafasi (47)
18.Nepo Laulala (41)
19.Tupou Vaa’i (14)
20.Hoskins Sotutu (11)
21.Finlay Christie (11)
22.Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (1)
23.Sevu Reece (20)
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