NZ name side to face Boks
Steve Hansen (File)
Cape Town - Wing Hosea Gear has been recalled to the New Zealand side for their final Rugby Championship clash against South Africa in Soweto on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 17:00.
Gear replaces Julian Savea, who produced arguably his best game for the All Blacks in his short international career last week in La Plata against Argentina where he scored two tries and displayed deft handling to set up one of Cory Jane's three tries in the 54-15 victory that clinched the title for the All Blacks.
Coach Steve Hansen made just one other change to the starting side that demolished the Pumas with lock Brodie Retallick coming off the bench for Luke Romano, who shifts back to the replacements.
Hansen has resisted making wholesale changes to his starting teams in his first season in charge, and while the unbeaten All Blacks have already sealed the inaugural Rugby Championship title, the coach was not keen on giving some of his less experienced squad players a starting place at Soccer City.
The Springboks, who have under-performed this season, were rejuvenated last week with their 31-8 victory over the Wallabies and Hansen recognised they always stepped up their intensity against the All Blacks in South Africa.
"We are in no doubt how big the challenge is for the team this weekend but it is one we are looking forward to as it will be a real test of our resolve and character," Hansen said in a statement.
"South Africa are coming off a big win against Australia and will be playing in front of their home crowd at Soweto so it's going to be a huge test match."
While loathe to tinker with the experienced core of the side, Hansen did make several changes to his replacements with prop Ben Franks, loose forward Adam Thomson and utility back Tamati Ellison all coming on to the bench.
The more experienced Franks replaces rookie prop Charlie Faumuina, while the versatile Thomson has come in for specialist openside flank Sam Cane, who had been included on the bench last week due to doubts over the fitness of captain Richie McCaw.
Ellison replaces Ben Smith as the outside back replacement. The Highlanders team-mates have swapped the number 22 jersey regularly throughout the All Blacks season.
New Zealand have won 15 successive Tests stretching back to the Rugby World Cup last year and victory on Saturday would mean their final Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia on October 20 would have added spice, despite the All Blacks having already sealed trans-Tasman supremacy.
South Africa and New Zealand have won 17 successive Test matches, a record amongst top-tier rugby nations, while the world record of 18 successive victories is held by Lithuania.
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Patrick Lambie
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Tamati Ellison
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