Rugby Championship

Savea gets the nod for All Blacks

2016-09-14 20:54
Ardie Savea (Getty Images)
Christchurch - The expected elevation of Ardie Savea to the number seven jersey is the only change to the New Zealand starting line-up for their Rugby Championship clash with South Africa this weekend.

The All Blacks will wrap up the trophy in the Christchurch encounter with two games to spare if they beat the Springboks with a bonus point and if Australia beat Argentina in the other fourth-round match in Perth.

The 22-year-old Savea replaces Sam Cane, who will miss the remainder of the championship after suffering a serious hamstring injury against Argentina last weekend. 

Matt Todd has been named as the replacement loose forward cover, while Lima Sopoaga has been added to the reserves for Aaron Cruden, who has been sidelined by a groin strain. 

The powerful Savea, a brother of All Blacks wing Julian Savea, has been on New Zealand's radar since being named as an "apprentice" to accompany the side on their northern tour four years ago, although he never played a game.

He did not break into the side until this year when Richie McCaw's retirement opened up a berth behind Cane, leaving Savea to play the first five Tests of 2016 off the bench. 

The All Blacks have been the dominant side in the Rugby Championship this year, winning all three games with a bonus point.

Last week, they thrashed the Pumas 57-22 while South Africa, with only one win to date, are coming off a 23-17 loss to Australia last week. 

However, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen found several flaws in their win over Argentina, despite the convincing margin - the lineout and defence around the ruck in particular - which the South Africans would also have noted. 

"We know they'll be hurting and desperate to get a result after their loss on the weekend. Therefore, our personal preparation this week will have to be at the highest level - bone deep with real clarity," Hansen said.

"We've worked hard this week on improving in the areas we felt weren't good enough last weekend. We're confident that those areas have been addressed and our performance will be improved. 

"Whilst we have been reasonably happy with our three games to date ... we are always striving for improvement and with South Africa having their backs to the wall, we know nothing but our best will be good enough. Accuracy with intensity will be paramount."

Teams:

New Zealand

15 Ben Smith 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

South Africa

15 Johan Goosen, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Jaco Kriel, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Damian de Allende

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

The Springboks' 25-24 defeat to the All Blacks at Newlands was ...

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 PSL season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.