All Blacks axe experienced trio for second Bledisloe Test

Date published: August 14 2019

Crusaders wings George Bridge and Sevu Reece have been handed a chance to impress after being named in the All Blacks XV for their Bledisloe Cup encounter against Australia.

Bridge and Reece come in for Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith respectively, who have been dropped from the 23, while Nepo Laulala starts ahead of Owen Franks at tighthead prop,

Elsewhere, Ofa Tuungafasi comes in for Atu Moli on the bench and Patrick Tuipulotu will start at lock alongside Sam Whitelock – due to Scott Barrett’s suspension – with Jackson Hemopo coming into the 19 jersey.

Sonny Bill Williams also returns to the line-up and takes his place alongside Anton Lienert-Brown at centre, while Jordie Barrett comes onto the bench in the 23 jersey.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said: “We have worked hard this week on our game and all that comes with it. We’ve had a great preparation and really excited and looking forward to a massive, must-win match for the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday.

“We know that Australia will be determined and confident after their win in Perth which makes the challenge even more exciting.”

Hansen said the team was also looking forward to huge support in the stands on Saturday.

He added: “It’s a sellout which is fantastic, and we hope our fans are in full voice – we’re always buoyed by the massive support we receive from our fans and we look forward to more of the same on Saturday night.”

The All Blacks and Australia will be playing their 166th Test against each other. New Zealand has won 114 of those matches, Australia 44, with seven draws.

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 Jordie Barrett

Date: Saturday, August 17
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley (England), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)