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Read back, Fekitoa starts for ABs

18th June 2014 19:05

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Malakai Fekitoa NZ v Eng 2014

At 13: Malakai Fekitoa

Highlanders star Malakai Fekitoa will make his first start for the All Blacks on Saturday after being named in the line-up to face England in Hamilton.

Fekitoa comes into the side in place of Conrad Smith, who has an injured thumb, getting the nod over Ryan Crotty for the third and final Test match.

In the other change to the starting line-up, Kieran Read returns from concussion to take over at eight, with Jerome Kaino moving to blindside.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said while the Series and the Hillary Shield had been won with New Zealand's 28-27 second Test victory last week, as always, they still had huge motivation to improve the quality of their performance.

"Whilst we felt we improved from the first Test to the second, there are areas of our game we want to improve on and that has been the focus for us this week," he said ahead of the series finale.

"We enjoy playing in Hamilton and in front of a sold-out Waikato Stadium we are looking forward to producing a quality performance that we can all be proud of."

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Liam Messam, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ryan Crotty.

Date: Saturday, June 21
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), James Leckie (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)
Assessor: Clayton Thomas (Wales)

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