Savea back in reshaped All Blacks XV

2016-06-22 19:48
Julian Savea (Gallo Images)

Wellington - Bruising wing Julian Savea returns to frontline action and Elliot Dixon will make his Test debut as New Zealand take a "risk and reward" approach to the third Test against Wales in Dunedin on Saturday.

With the All Blacks taking the first two Tests to wrap up the series early, coach Steve Hansen has made five changes to the run-on side for the final showdown.

He has also replaced seven of the eight benchwarmers where prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi and loose forward Liam Squire are set to earn their first caps.

"With the series won, it came down to risk and reward and we felt the rewards of seeing these new players in the Test arena, after watching them for three weeks on the training pitch, outweighed any risks," Hansen said when naming the side Thursday.

Savea, who was ignored for the second Test after indifferent form, returns to the left wing with Waisake Naholo dropping to the bench while Dixon takes over from Jerome Kaino on the side of the scrum.

Outside centre George Moala comes in for only his second Test after playing against Samoa last year and Beauden Barrett replaces injured fly-half Aaron Cruden opening the way for Lima Sopoaga to join the bench.

Charlie Faumuina starts in place of prop Owen Franks with Tu'ungafasi added to the replacements.

Other bench changes include Squire for Ardie Savea, Tawera Kerr-Barlow has recovered from injury to replace scrum-half TJ Perenara and Codie Taylor replaces Nathan Harris as the back up hooker.

Hansen stressed that the widespread changes did not mean a lessening of the All Blacks approach.

"We're expecting another brutal Test match, with the expectation that Wales will again chuck the kitchen sink at us," Hansen said.

"We've seen over the last two Tests that they're a very good side who play physical, combative and innovative rugby. Our own expectations are as high as ever and we'll be looking for continued improvement right across our game."

Starting scrum-half Aaron Smith and lock Brodie Retallick will be playing their 50th Tests for the All Blacks.

The pair made their Test debuts in the same Test, against Ireland in June 2012.


New Zealand

5 Israel Dagg; 14 Ben Smith, 13 George Moala, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea; 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith; 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Elliot Dixon; 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Sam Whitelock; 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Waisake Naholo


15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans

Substitutes: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Aaron Jarvis, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Scott Williams

Read more on:    all blacks  |  julian savea  |  rugby


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