All Blacks coach Steve Hansen brings back his experienced test players for the match against South Africa in Wellington.

There are several changes in the forward pack from last weekend: Samuel Whitelock moves into the number four jersey, with Brodie Retallick injured, and Patrick Tuipulotu comes onto the bench as lock cover for his first Test of 2018. Liam Squire and Sam Cane will again don the six and seven jerseys respectively, with Ardie Savea moving to the bench. Liam Coltman will provide hooker coverage from the bench, in his third Test.

In the backs, halfback Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett will resume their inside partnership, starting their 28th Test together, TJ Perenara will provide halfback impact off the bench, Ryan Crotty returns to the 12 jersey, with Anton Lienert-Brown at centre. Rieko Ioane returns from injury to the left wing, while Ben Smith moves to the right wing to make way for Jordie Barrett at fullback.  Jack Goodhue who has impressed in the centres in the last few matches is on the bench alongside Damian McKenzie.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “We’ve had a good week’s preparation here in the Capital focussing on what we need to bring to the game through our skillsets, the intensity of our play and our energy. We know that we’ll have to be at our very best in all these areas to counter an opposition we know will be desperate following their back-to-back losses. That means we’ll have to respond with a quality performance and a real hunger to be better.  You just have to look at our last encounter in Cape Town to understand what kind of beast we will be facing.”

Hansen also added that the team was looking forward to playing in front of their home fans in the last home Test of 2018.

“We love playing here and the Westpac Stadium crowd really get behind the team. It’s our last home Test of the year (before away matches in Argentina and South Africa and the Northern Tour), so it’ll be a massive boost for the team playing in front of a passionate Wellington crowd.”

1. Karl Tu’inukuafe (6)
2. Codie Taylor (35)
3. Owen Franks (101)
4. Samuel Whitelock (102)
5. Scott Barrett (22)
6. Liam Squire (19) 
7. Sam Cane (57)
8. Kieran Read – captain (112)
9. Aaron Smith (76) 
10. Beauden Barrett (66)
11. Rieko Ioane (17)
12. Ryan Crotty (38)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (27)
14. Ben Smith (71)
15. Jordie Barrett (6)

16. Liam Coltman (2)
17. Tim Perry (2)
18. Ofa Tuungafasi (19)
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (16)
20. Ardie Savea (28)
21. TJ Perenara (48) 
22. Jack Goodhue (4)
23. Damian McKenzie (18)

Key facts

  • The All Blacks are closing in on 2,000 points in their history against South Africa (currently on 1,945) while South Africa are nearing 1,500 points against the All Blacks – currently 1,482.
  • All Blacks Captain Kieran Read has played 18 Test matches against South Africa – the most by any current player and sixth most of all time.
  • The All Blacks and South Africa have played each other 95 times since 1921, with 57 wins to the All Blacks, 35 to South Africa and three draws. The last Test between the two sides was the hard-fought 25-24 victory in Cape Town last year.
  • Beauden Barrett, who scored four tries in his last outing in the Bledisloe Cup-winning Test, has now scored 23 tries in the 10 jersey, one behind the world record 24 scored by Daniel Carter.
  • The All Blacks won The Rugby Championship in 2012 – 2014 and again in 2016 and 2017 (as well as a Rugby Championship “Grand Slam” in 2012 - 2013 and 2016-2017) and have held the Freedom Cup (played between New Zealand and South Africa) since 2010.