Savea returns for All Blacks

Date published: October 19 2016

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has made just one changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup Test with Australia in Auckland.

In all there are three changes to the matchday squad which beat the Springboks in Durban 12 days ago, with all the changes coming in the backs.

Winger Julian Savea returns to the 11 jersey, after being given a break in South Africa. Aaron Cruden has been named in the replacements, after proving his fitness in Manawatu’s Mitre 10 Cup match on Friday, with Malakai Fekitoa also coming onto the replacements bench.

“The squad is feeling refreshed and raring to go after our return from South Africa, and we’re all looking forward to what we know is a hugely-anticipated Test match at Eden Park,” said Hansen.

“We’ve been focussed in our preparation this week and there’s a strong resolve within the group to put in another performance we can be proud of.

“Australia will be coming here with a lot more confidence than when we played earlier in the season. They’ve made some significant changes to their game and would like nothing better to end their Southern Hemisphere Test season with a win.

“They’ve said they are keen to bring it on, and have outlined their intentions, so the stage is set for another huge trans-Tasman battle. It’s a challenge we’re really looking forward to.”

Meanwhile, loose forward Sam Cane, winger Waisake Naholo and scrum-half replacement Augustine Pulu will be available to play for their respective provinces in their Mitre 10 Cup semifinal matches this weekend.

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Malakai Fekitoa

Date: Saturday, October 22
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:35 local (06:35 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)