Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Savea back for All Blacks

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has made minimal changes to his starting line-up for Saturday's second Test against England in Dunedin.

The only reshuffle comes in the back three, where thigh and knee problems have ruled out full-back Israel Dagg and winger Julian Savea returns from a knee injury.

Dagg's absence means Ben Smith gets a rare start at full-back, Cory Jane switches to his preferred right wing allowing Savea to slot into his usual position on the left after missing last weekend's error-ridden 20-15 win at Eden Park.

It means Aaron Cruden has again been given the nod at fly-half ahead of in-form Hurricanes number 10 Beauden Barrett, who will start on the bench.

Hansen has also resisted the urge to bring in Kieran Read despite the 2013 IRB player of the year having fully recovered from his concussion issues.

The All Blacks coach signalled earlier in the week he was likely to keep his star number eight on ice for another week to get his match fitness up after seven weeks on the sidelines.

It means the forward pack is retained and will get a chance to prove last weekend's underwhelming effort in Auckland - where they were outplayed at the breakdown and in the scrums - was just a one-off.

"We are expecting another big contest this weekend and, with England sure to make improvements in their game, we will have to improve massively ourselves," Hansen said.

"We have worked hard on our skill-sets, attitude and the detail in our game, which wasn't up to All Blacks standard last week.

"Our mindset this week has been all about improvement, taking ownership and responsibility for our individual roles with the aim of delivering a team performance we can all be proud of."

The Test at Forsyth Barr Stadium will be Jerome Kaino's 50th.

New Zealand team: Ben Smith; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea; Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith; Tony Woodcock, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Richie McCaw (capt), Jerome Kaino.

Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Patrick Tuipulotu, Victor Vito, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Malakai Fekitoa.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph