Rugby Championship News

All Blacks make two changes for Wallabies second Test




New Zealand rugby head coach Steve Hansen and his selectors have named an All Blacks team with two injury enforced changes to the side for this Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup match at Eden Park.

The team has the same starting pack that played last week and both changes are in the backs.

All Blacks tighthead prop Owen Franks will become the All Blacks newest centurion, while Ofa Tuungafasi comes back onto the reserves bench for Tim Perry.

There are two injury-enforced changes in the backline. With winger Rieko Ioane ruled out, Waisake Naholo comes across to the left wing, Ben Smith moves to the right wing and Jordie Barrett has been named at fullback, for his third Test start. In the midfield, Ngani Laumape comes in for Ryan Crotty.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “The team is fully aware that it has the opportunity to close out the Bledisloe Cup series on Saturday. In saying that, we know that there’ll be a massive response from Australia following their performance last week.

“Not only are we excited by this challenge, but we’re looking forward to responding ourselves with a better performance.”

“Our preparation this week – both physically and mentally – has been all about getting ready to do that. We’ll be looking to execute to an even higher level and play at an intensity that will challenge ourselves and our opponent.”

Hansen has also paid tribute to Owen Franks.

“Whilst last week was a special occasion for Sammy Whitelock, this week it’s Owie’s turn to join that special club. He has started 90 of his 99 Tests to date, which is an incredible achievement for a tighthead prop, one of the most physically demanding positions on the footy field.

“His professionalism and dedication to improvement has been an inspiration to other All Blacks for quite some time now. We congratulate him and his family on such a wonderful achievement.”

Steve Hansen also said the All Blacks were looking forward to playing at home in front of a sold-out Eden Park.

“It’s always a pleasure to play at such a great stadium and the team is always buoyed by the outstanding support.”

Additional temporary seating has taken Eden Park’s capacity total to 48,511 for Saturday’s second double-header.

Meanwhile, Nehe Milner-Skudder has been released to again play for Manawatu in their Mitre 10 Cup Ranfurly Shield match against Taranaki on Friday evening.

New Zealand

1. Joe Moody, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Liam Squire , 7. Sam Cane , 8. Kieran Read (c), 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Beauden Barrett , 11. Waisake Naholo , 12. Ngani Laumape, 13. Jack Goodhue , 14. Ben Smith, 15. Jordie Barrett ,

Replacements : 16. Nathan Harris , 17. Karl Tu’inukuafe , 18. Ofa Tuungafasi , 19. Scott Barrett, 20. Ardie Savea , 21. TJ Perenara , 22. Damian McKenzie , 23. Anton Lienert-Brown

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