ABs bring in Luatua, Cruden

Date published: September 10 2014

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made three changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Springboks in Wellington.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made three changes to his starting line-up for Saturday's clash with the Springboks in Wellington.

In the forwards, Steven Luatua and Jeremy Thrush replace the injured Liam Messam and Sam Whitelock at blindside flanker and lock respectively while Aaron Cruden takes over from Beauden Barrett at fly-half.

Hansen expects a tough encounter against the Springboks, who are smarting after last weekend's narrow loss to Australia in Perth.

“This week we have to find a desperation and hunger in our performance because we know that is something the South Africans will be bringing after their loss to Australia,” he said.

“As well they have already stated they have a desire to get a win against us.”

“After two wonderful matches last year, I know our guys are really looking forward to this match.

“We have the utmost respect for South Africa and looking forward to Saturday night.”

Several All Blacks will reach personal milestones this weekend.

Front row Owen Franks will become the third most capped All Blacks prop of all time: he has played 60 Tests and is currently equal with Craig Dowd, with Greg Somerville second on 66 and Tony Woodcock out in front on 110 Tests.

Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu will equal the world record for a midfield partnership this weekend when they play their 55th Test together.

Smith will also play his 80th Test this weekend, overtaking Ian Jones to become the 10th most capped All Black of all time.

Nonu, who will play his 94th Test this weekend, is the sixth most capped All Black.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Cory Jane.

Date: Saturday, September 13
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzère (France), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Television match official: Peter Marshall (Australia)
Assessor: Andrew Cole