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Lienert-Brown starts for All Blacks in Rugby Championship

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All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has named his New Zealand team to play Australia’s Wallabies in the second Bledisloe Cup Rugby Championship match in Wellington with Anton Lienert-Brown making his test debut.

Twenty-one-year-old Chiefs midfielder Lienert-Brown will start his Test debut at 12 and comes into the side as replacement for Ryan Crotty who is injured this week.

Lienert-Brown is one of four changes to the side that beat Australia 8-42 in Sydney last week in the series opening match.

Prop Joe Moody returns from injury to start at loosehead prop, with Wyatt Crockett set to play his 50th Test from the bench. In the other changes, James Parsons’ experience sees him named at replacement hooker, while Seta Tamanivalu is in the 23 jersey as back cover.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Firstly, we’d like to congratulate Anton on his Test selection. He had a very good Super season with strong performances throughout and we expect him to take the step up. We’re really looking forward to seeing him play in the international arena. It’ll be a special night for Anton on Saturday and he and his family can be proud of what he has achieved.

“We’d also like to congratulate ‘Crocky’ on what will be his 50th Test. That’s also a special milestone for an All Black. ‘Crocky’ is the ultimate team man who has worked hard throughout his career. His attitude and performances since bouncing back from non-selection for the Rugby World Cup squad in 2011 epitomises everything you want in a team member and he can be very proud of what he has achieved.”

Reflecting on the challenge this week, Hansen said: “This Test match will tell us a lot about ourselves and Australia. There’s no doubt that one of the hardest things to do in sport is to back up a big performance with another big performance. It’s totally a mental thing, so that is something we’ve been working really hard on this week: getting our feet back on the ground and our attitudes right for what is going to be a really physical and demanding Test. As always, the expectation we have placed on ourselves is to improve in everything we do.

“Australia is a proud side and will not have been happy with their performance last week. As a result, we’re expecting them to throw everything they’ve got at us. This should lead to a very exciting, physical and high-intensity Test match with the Bledisloe Cup being in the balance.”

The Bookies have New Zealand at 1/7 to win the Rugby Championship.

New Zealand

1. Joe Moody, 2. Dane Coles , 3. Owen Franks , 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Samuel Whitelock , 6. Jerome Kaino, 7. Sam Cane , 8. Kieran Read (c) ,, 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Beauden Barrett , 11. Julian Savea , 12. Anton Lienert-Brown, 13. Malakai Fekitoa , 14. Israel Dagg , 15. Ben Smith ,

Replacements : 16. James Parsons , 17. Wyatt Crockett , 18. Charlie Faumuina, 19. Liam Squire, 20. Ardie Savea , 21. TJ Perenara , 22. Aaron Cruden , 23. Seta Tamanivalu

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