New All Black Anton Lienert-Brown to make his Test debut.
The matchday 23 is (with Test caps in brackets )
1. Joe Moody (14)
2. Dane Coles (40)
3. Owen Franks (81)
4. Brodie Retallick (51)
5. Samuel Whitelock (76)
6. Jerome Kaino (70)
7. Sam Cane (35)
8. Kieran Read – captain (88)
9. Aaron Smith (51)
10. Beauden Barrett (40)
11. Julian Savea (44)
12. Anton Lienert-Brown
13. Malakai Fekitoa (16)
14. Israel Dagg (52)
15. Ben Smith (52)
16. James Parsons (1)
17. Wyatt Crockett (49)
18. Charlie Faumuina (37)
19. Liam Squire (2)
20. Ardie Savea (3)
21. TJ Perenara (20)
22. Aaron Cruden (40)
23. Seta Tamanivalu (2)
A 21-year-old midfielder, Lienert-Brown will make his Test debut in the number 12 jersey, coming in for the injured Ryan Crotty in one of four changes to the matchday 23 which beat Australia 42-8 in Sydney in the opening match of the Investec Rugby Championship last weekend.
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.”
All Blacks v Australia – key facts
• When he takes the field this weekend, Wyatt Crockett will not only play his 50th Test, but also his 300th first-class match.
Crockett also holds a unique world record: he has played in 38 consecutive Test matches without defeat. The last loss he experienced in an All Blacks jersey was the All Blacks 2012 loss to England.
• Julian Savea scored his 40th try last weekend and is thus on 200 points for the All Blacks. Aaron Cruden is sitting on 299 points for the All Blacks.
• Beauden Barrett finished last weekend’s Test match with 199 points for the All Blacks. He has also scored six tries in his last six Tests.
• All Blacks Captain Kieran Read has won his first 13 Tests as captain. All Blacks legend Sir Brian Lochore holds the world record of winning his first 14 Tests.
•The All Blacks have scored 1,885 tries to date in their history and will be the first side to score 1,900 Test tries. France are second on 1,683 tries.
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