All Blacks ring the changes

2014-10-15 19:13
Steve Hansen (AFP)

Wellington - A wounded New Zealand has made five changes to the starting line-up for the third Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia, but could find no room for disgraced fly-half Aaron Cruden.

Coach Steve Hansen bolstered the pack following a 27-25 loss to South Africa that ended a world record 22-match unbeaten run and also called up Cory Jane on the wing to allow Ben Smith a break after a busy season.

However, Cruden's omission was a major surprise, with Beauden Barrett retaining his starting spot in the number 10 jersey and Colin Slade providing cover from the bench.

Cruden was dropped for two Tests after he had too much to drink during a night out in Auckland and missed the All Blacks' flight to South America for a match against Argentina.

Team management earlier this month emphasised Cruden had served his penance and would be eligible to face the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday.

The fact that he could not even make the bench raises questions about whether he has been relegated in the All Blacks' pecking order after a long stint as the preferred choice during injury-prone star pivot Dan Carter's frequent bouts on the sideline.

Hansen made no mention of Cruden's snub in a statement announcing the team but said the All Blacks were smarting after the South Africa defeat and determined to make amends against the Wallabies.

"There were some aspects of our game in the loss to South Africa that we weren't happy with and we have worked hard on addressing those this week," he said.

He made two changes to the front row, with Wyatt Crockett replacing Joe Moody at loose head prop and Dane Coles taking over as hooker from Keven Mealamu.

Lock Brodie Retallick returns after missing the Springboks' game with concussion, while Liam Messam replaces Jerome Kaino at blindside.

New Zealand have already retained the Bledisloe Cup after drawing 12-12 with the Wallabies in Sydney, then thrashing them 51-20 in Auckland.


15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 James Horwill, 20 Matt Hodgson, 21 Nic White, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Rob Horne

New Zealand:
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett

Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Charles Piutau

Read more on:    all blacks  |  bledisloe cup  |  steve hansen  |  rugby


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