All Black debut for Milner-Skudder

Date published: August 5 2015

New Zealand will hand Nehe Milner-Skudder his international debut this Saturday when they face Australia in the Rugby Championship decider.

Electric 24-year-old Milner-Skudder will make his Test debut on the right wing and is one of a number of changes to the All Blacks XV which beat South Africa.

Julian Savea is back on the left wing and will play his first Test of 2015, with Ben Smith moving to full-back. Sonny Bill Williams is 12, while Daniel Carter is at 10. 

In the pack, Jerome Kaino starts at blindside flanker while Luke Romano comes in at lock. There are just two changes to the bench, with Nepo Laulala providing tighthead prop cover and Sam Cane coming in to cover the loose forwards.

With three All Blacks centurions amongst them, the All Blacks XV boasts 868 Test caps experience with a further 183 on the bench, with an average age of 27.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said the team had prepared well this week for the opening Bledisloe Cup Test.

"The Bledisloe Cup is an important trophy for New Zealand rugby and for this team, and Australia is one of our oldest opponents. We are well aware that they have made improvements and that their coach Cheika wants them to be more physical and more consistent," he said.

"Having said that, we are always looking to improve our game and understand that we will have to take a step up from our Ellis Park performance. This means we will need to bring physicality, intensity and accuracy to the occasion. I am picking this to be a brutal contest, and one we are looking forward to. It will be about us implementing our gameplan and skillsets for 80-plus minutes."

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Luke Romano, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa.

Date: Saturday, August 8
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 20:05 local (07:05 ART, 10:05 GMT, 12:05 SAST, 22:05 NZST)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)