Wellington - All Blacks matchwinner Dan Carter is out of Saturday's third Test
against Ireland in a revamped side that also features Richie McCaw
moving to the backrow.
There are six changes to the starting XV as coach Steve
Hansen covers for injuries and to shore up holes exposed in the tense
22-19 second Test victory in Christchurch last weekend.
Carter, the team playmaker who won the match with a last
minute drop goal, suffered a hamstring injury in training during the
week while number eight Kieran Read has been sidelined by concussion.
First Test hero Julian Savea and fellow wing Zac
Guildford have been replaced by Hosea Gear and Ben Smith, while lock
Brodie Retallick and side rower Adam Thomson drop to the bench.
Luke Romano will make his Test debut in the second row
and uncapped fly-half Beauden Barrett comes into the reserves with
Aaron Cruden starting in place of Carter in the pivot role.
Hansen said Carter had suffered a mild strain, but it was
enough to keep him sidelined, while most of the other changes were
fallout from the high-pressure second Test.
"The All Blacks, by their own admission, weren't happy
with the way they performed on Saturday, and in part this is a credit
to the way the Irish played.
"They have laid down a challenge and the key will be now
how we respond. We will have to ensure our preparation is spot on this
week so we can get the performance we need on Saturday."
McCaw, who will be starting for the 100th time in his
illustrious 105-Test career, has always worn the number seven jersey
but moves to the backrow for the first time in an injury enforced
shake-up of the loose forwards.
Liam Messam who is probably more accustomed to the
number eight role will start on the side of the scrum with his Chiefs' team-mate Sam Cane.
The inclusion of Cruden at flyhalf restores another
partnership from the Super Rugby leading Chiefs with Sonny Bill Williams
beside him at inside centre.
Long-serving hooker Keven Mealamu returns from injury and
is on the bench. along with Tamati Ellison, whose one previous Test
was in 2009, providing cover for the outside backs.
Romano gets his start following second-Test wobbles in
an All Blacks' scrum that has been down on power in the second row
following the retirement of Brad Thorn after last year's World Cup.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Richie McCaw (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam
Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony
Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Beauden Barrett, 22 Tamati Ellison
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (captain),
12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Peter O'Mahony, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Donnacha Ryan,
4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy
Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 Donncha O'Callaghan, 19 Chris
Henry, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Andrew Trimble