The All Blacks have named their team for their third Bledisloe Cup clash against Australia in Brisbane this Saturday as revealed by Allblacks.com.
Steve Hansen has named an unchanged forward eight from their thrilling 25-24 win over South Africa in Cape Town two weeks ago but has made four changes in the backs and on the bench.
Highlanders fly-half Lima Sopoaga, who came on for Beauden Barrett during the first half in South Africa, starts at 10 with his club teammate Waisake Naholo coming in on the right-wing in place of the injured Nehe Milner-Skudder, who dislocated his shoulder against the Springboks.
While feisty Hurricanes scrum-half TJ Perenara comes into the match-day 23 in place of Tawera Kerr-Barlow, a second-half substitute at Newlands. And eighteen-times capped centre Anton Lienert-Brown returns to the match-day squad with the 22-year-old Chiefs centre providing extra cover behind from the bench in a very strong 23 which boasts an impressive 707 caps.
Speaking about Saturday’s game at the Suncorp stadium, Steve Hansen expressed how both teams will look to take different things out of the weekend’s clash, emphasising how Michael Cheika’s men would be ‘desperate’ for the win whilst stressing the importance of his team’s performance,
“Both teams have their own goals and expectations. From Australia’s point of view they will be desperate to win as they haven’t done so for some time. For us, our goal is never to be satisfied where we’re at, and that means it’s greater than just the outcome. It’s about how we play, individually and collectively as a unit. We’re always striving to get better every game and this week is no different”.
Before going on to describe the 161st clash between the sides as a ‘great opportunity’ for his ‘young team’ and ‘another fantastic learning experience’,
“It’ll be another great opportunity for this young team to show what they’ve learnt throughout the year and playing at Suncorp stadium will be another fantastic learning experience for them”.
Saturday’s test promises to be another humdinger between both sides as Australia go in search of a first win over their bitter rivals since 2015 New Zealand will seek to continue their dominance over their neighbours.
New Zealand team:
1. Kane Hames
2. Dane Coles
3. Nepo Laulala
4. Samuel Whitelock
5. Scott Barrett
6. Liam Squire
7. Sam Cane
8. Kieran Read
9. Aaron Smith
10. Lima Sopoaga
11. Rieko Ioane
12. Sonny Bill Williams
13. Ryan Crotty
14. Waisake Naholo
15. Damian McKenzie
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena